Skip to main content

Full text of "The works of Lactantius"

See other formats


ANTE-NICENE 



CHRISTIAN LIBRARY 



TRANSLATIONS OF 
THE WRITINGS OF THE FATHERS 

DOWN TO A.D. 325. 



EDITED BY THE 

REV. ALEXANDER ROBERTS, D.D., 

AND 

JAMES DONALDSON, LL.D. 



VOL. XXII. 

THE WOBKS OF LACTANTIUS, VOL. II. 

TOGETHER WITH 

THE TESTAMENTS OF THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS AND FRAGMENTS 
OF THE SECOND AND THIRD CENTURIES. 



EDINBURGH: 
T. & T. CLARK, 38, GEORGE STREET. 

MDCCCLXXI. 



PRINTED BY MURRAY AND GIBB, 
FOR 

T. & T. CLAKK, EDINBURGH. 



LONDON, . 
DUBLIN, . 
NEW YORK, 



HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND CO. 
JOHN ROBERTSON AND CO. 
C. SCRIBNER AND CO. 




OCT 1 7 1949 



THE WORKS 



OF 



LACTANTIUS. 



CranSlatttt fci> 
WILLIAM FLETCHER, D.D., 

HEAD-MASTER OF QUEEN ELIZABETH S SCHOOL, WIMBOENE, DOESET. 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 
VOL. II. 



EDINBUEGH: 
T. & T. CLAEK, 38, GEOEGE STEEET. 

MDCCCLXXI. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

A TREATISE ON THE ANGER OF GOD, 1 

ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD, OR THE FORMATION OF MAN, 49 
THE EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES, . . . .92 

OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THE PERSECUTORS DIED. . . 1G4 

FRAGMENTS OF LACTANTIUS FIRMIANUS, .... 212 

THE PHCENIX, 214 

A POEM ON THE PASSION OF THE LORD, .... 220 

POEM ON EASTER, 223 

INDEX, 229 




A TREATISE ON THE ANGEE OF GOD, 

ADDRESSED TO DONATUS. 



CHAP. i. Of divine and human wisdom. 

HAVE often observed, Donatus, that many persons 
hold this opinion, which some philosophers also have 
maintained, that God is not subject to anger ; since 
the divine nature is either altogether beneficent, 
and that it is inconsistent with His surpassing and excellent 
power to do injury to any one ; or, at any rate, He takes no 
notice of us at all, so that no advantage comes to us from His 
goodness, and no evil from His ill-will. But the error of these 
men, because it is very great, and tends to overthrow the con 
dition of human life, must be refuted by us, lest you yourself 
also should be deceived, being incited by the authority of men 
who deem themselves wise. Nor, however, are we so arrogant 
as to boast that the truth is comprehended by our intellect ; 
but we follow the teaching of God, who alone is able to know 
and to reveal secret things. But the philosophers, being desti 
tute of this teaching, have imagined that the nature of things 
can be ascertained by conjecture. But this is impossible ; 
because the mind of man, enclosed in the dark abode of the 
body, is far removed from the perception of truth : and in this 
the divine nature differs from the human, that ignorance is the 
property of the human, knowledge of the divine nature. 

On which account we have need of some light to dispel the 
darkness by which the reflection of man is overspread, since, 
while we live in mortal flesh, we are unable to divine by our 
senses. But the light of the human mind is God, and he who 
has known and admitted Him into his breast will acknowledge 
the mystery of the truth with an enlightened heart ; but when 
God and heavenly instruction are removed, all things are full 
of errors. And Socrates, though he was the most learned of 

LACT. VOL. II. A 



2 LACTANTIUS 

all the philosophers, yet, that he might prove the ignorance of 
the others, who thought that they possessed something, rightly 
said that he knew nothing, except one thing that he knew 
nothing. For he understood that that learning had nothing 
certain, nothing true in itself; nor, as some imagine, did he 
pretend l to learning that he might refute others, but he saw 
the truth in some measure. And he testified even on his trial 
(as is related by Plato) that there was no human wisdom. He 
so despised, derided, and cast aside the learning in which the 
philosophers then boasted, that he professed that very thing as 
the greatest learning, that he had learnt that he knew nothing. 
If, therefore, there is no human wisdom, as Socrates taught, 
as Plato handed down, it is evident that the knowledge of the 
truth is divine, and belongs to no other than to God. There 
fore God must be known, in whom alone is the truth. He is the 
Parent of the world, and the Framer of all things ; who is not 
seen with the eyes, and is scarcely distinguished by the mind ; 
whose religion is accustomed to be attacked in many ways by 
those who have neither been able to attain true wisdom, nor 
to comprehend the system of the great and heavenly secret. 

CHAP. ii. Of the truth and its steps, and of God. 

For since there are many steps by which the ascent is made 
to the abode of truth, it is not easy for any one to reach the 
summit. For when the eyes are darkened by the brightness of 
the truth, they who are unable to maintain a firm step fall 
back to the level ground. 2 Now the first step is to understand 
false religions, and to throw aside the impious worship of gods 
which are made by the hand of man. But the second step is 
to perceive with the mind that there is but one supreme God, 
whose power and providence made the world from the begin 
ning, and afterwards continues to govern it. The third step is 
to know His Servant and Messenger, 3 whom He sent as His 
ambassador to the earth, by whose teaching being freed from 
the error in which we were held entangled, and formed to the 

1 " Simulavit ; " others read " dissimulavit," concealed his knowledge. 

2 " Eevolvuntur in planum." 

3 Thus our Lord Himself speaks, John xvii. 3 : " This is life eternal, that 
they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou 
hast sent." 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 3 

worship of the true God, we might learn righteousness. From 
all of these steps, as I have said, there is a rapid and easy 
gliding to a downfall, 1 unless the feet are firmly planted with 
unshaken stedfastness. 

We see those shaken off from the first step, who, though 
they understand things which are false, do not, however, dis 
cover that which is true ; and though they despised earthly and 
frail images, do not betake themselves to the worship of God, 
of whom they are ignorant. But viewing with admiration the 
elements of the universe, they worship the heaven, the earth, 
the sea, the sun, the moon, and the other heavenly bodies. 

But we have already reproved their ignorance in the second 
book of the Divine Institutes? But we say that those fall from 
the second step, who, though they understand that there is but 
one supreme God, nevertheless, ensnared by the philosophers, 
and captivated by false arguments, entertain opinions concern 
ing that excellent majesty far removed from the truth ; who 
either deny that God has any figure, or think that He is moved 
by no affection, because every affection is a sign of weakness, 
which has no existence in God. But they are precipitated 
from the third step, who, though they know the Ambassador 
of God, who is also the Builder of the divine and immortal 
temple, 3 either do not receive Him, or receive Him otherwise 
than faith demands ; whom we have partly refuted in the 
fourth book of the above-named work. 4 And we will here 
after refute more carefully, when we shall begin to reply to all 
the sects, which, while they dispute, 5 have destroyed the truth. 

But now we will argue against those who, falling from the 
second step, entertain wrong sentiments respecting the supreme 
God. For some say that He neither does a kindness to any one, 
nor becomes angry, but in security and quietness enjoys the 
advantages of His own immortality. Others, indeed, take away 
anger, but leave to God kindness ; for they think that a nature 
excelling in the greatest virtue, while it ought not to be malevo 
lent, ought also to be benevolent. Thus all the philosophers 
are agreed on the subject of anger, but are at variance respect 
ing kindness. But, that my speech may descend in order to 

1 " Ad ruinam." 2 Ch. v. and vi. 

8 The temple built of living stones, 1 Pet. ii. 5. 4 Ch. x. etc. 

5 " Dum disputant ; " other editions read, " dum dissipant." 



4 LACTANTIUS 

the proposed subject, a division of this kind must be made and 
followed by me, since anger and kindness are different, and 
opposed to one another. Either anger must be attributed to 
God, and kindness taken from Him ; or both alike must be 
taken from Him ; or anger must be taken away, and kindness 
attributed to Him; or neither must be taken away. The 
nature of the case admits of nothing else besides these ; so that 
the truth, which is sought for, must necessarily be found in some 
one of these. Let us consider them separately, that reason and 
arrangement may conduct us to the hiding-place of truth. 

CHAP. ill. Of the good and evil things in human affairs, 
and of their author. 

First, no one ever said this respecting God, that He is only 
subject to anger, and is not influenced by kindness. For it is 
unsuitable to God, that He should be endowed with a power of 
this kind, by which He may injure and do harm, but be unable 
to profit and to do good. What means, therefore, what hope 
of safety, is proposed to men, if God is the author of evils only ? 
For if this is so, that venerable majesty will now be drawn out, 
not to the power of the judge, to whom it is permitted to pre 
serve and set at liberty, but to the office of the torturer and 
executioner. But whereas we see that there are not only evils 
in human affairs, but also goods, it is plain that if God is the 
author of evils, there must be another who does things contrary 
to God, and gives to us good things. If there is such an one, 
by what name must he be called ? Why is he who injures us 
more known to us than He who benefits us ? But if this can 
be nothing besides God, it is absurd and vain to suppose that 
the divine power, than which nothing is greater or better, is 
able to injure, but unable to benefit; and accordingly no one 
has ever existed who ventured to assert this, because it is neither 
reasonable nor in any way credible. And because this is agreed 
upon, let us pass on and seek after the truth elsewhere. 

CHAP, iv. Of God and His affections^ and the censure of 
Epicurus. 

That which follows is concerning the school of Epicurus; 
that as there is no anger in God, so indeed there is no kindness. 
For when Epicurus thought that it was inconsistent with God 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 5 

to injure and to inflict harm, which for the most part arises 
from the affection of anger, he took away from Him beneficence 
also, since he saw that it followed that if God has anger, He 
must also have kindness. Therefore, lest he should concede to 
Him a vice, he deprived Him also of virtue. From this, he 
says, He is happy and uncorrupted, because He cares about 
nothing, and neither takes trouble Himself nor occasions it to 
another. Therefore He is not God, if He is neither moved, 
which is peculiar to a living being, nor does anything impos 
sible for man, which is peculiar to God, if He has no will at all, 
no action, in short, no administration, which is worthy of God. 
And what greater, what more worthy administration can be 
attributed to God, than the government of the world, and 
especially of the human race, to which all earthly things are 
subject? 

What happiness, then, can there be in God, if He is always 
inactive, being at rest and unmoveable? if He is deaf to those 
who pray to Him, and blind to His worshippers? What is so 
worthy of God, and so befitting to Him, as providence ? But 
if He cares for nothing, and foresees nothing, He has lost all 
His divinity. What else does he say, who takes from God all 
power and all substance, except that there is no God at all ? 
In short, Marcus Tullius relates that it was said by Posidonius, 
that Epicurus understood that there were no gods, but that he 
said those things which he spoke respecting the gods for the 
sake of driving away odium ; and so that he leaves the gods in 
words, but takes them away in reality, since he gives them no 
motion, no office. But if this is so, what can be more deceit 
ful than him ? And this ought to be foreign to the character 
of a wise and weighty man. But if he understood one thing 
and spoke another, what else is he to be called than a deceiver, 
double-tongued, wicked, and moreover foolish ? But Epicurus 
was not so crafty as to say those things with the desire of 
deceiving, when he consigned these things also by his writings 
to everlasting remembrance ; but he erred through ignorance of 
the truth. For, being led from the beginning by the proba 
bility l of a single opinion, he necessarily fell into those things 
which followed. For the first opinion was, that anger was 
not consistent with the character of God. And when this 
1 " Verisimilitudine," i.e. likeness of truth. 



6 LACTANT1US 

appeared to him to be true and unassailable, 1 he was unable to 
refuse the consequences ; because one affection being removed, 
necessity itself compelled him to remove from God the other 
affections also. Thus, he who is not subject to anger is plainly 
uninfluenced by kindness, which is the opposite feeling to 
anger. Now, if there is neither anger nor kindness in Him, it is 
manifest that there is neither fear, nor joy, nor grief, nor pity. 
For all the affections have one system, one motion, 2 which can 
not be the case with God. But if there is no affection in God, 
because whatever is subject to affections is weak, it follows that 
there is in Him neither the care of anything, nor providence. 

The disputation of the wise man 3 extends thus far : he was 
silent as to the other things which follow ; namely, that because 
there is in Him neither care nor providence, therefore there is 
no reflection nor any perception in Him, by which it is effected 
that He has no existence at all. Thus, when he had gradually 
descended, he remained on the last step, because he now saw 
the precipice. But what does it avail to have remained silent, 
and concealed the danger? Necessity compelled him even 
against his will to fall. For he said that which he did not 
mean, because he so arranged his argument that he necessarily 
came to that point which he wished to avoid. You see, therefore, 
to what point he comes, when anger is removed and taken 
away from God. In short, either no one believes that, or a 
very few, and they the guilty and the wicked, who hope for 
impunity for their sins. But if this also is found to be false, 
that there is neither anger nor kindness in God, let us come to 
that which is put in the third place. 

CHAP. v. The opinion of the Stoics concerning God; of His 
anger and kindness. 

The Stoics and some others are supposed to have entertained 
much better sentiments respecting the divine nature, who say 
that there is kindness in God, but not anger. A very pleasing 
and popular speech, that God is not subject to such littleness of 
mind as to imagine that He is injured by any one, since it is 
impossible for Him to be injured ; so that that serene and holy 
majesty is excited, disturbed, and maddened, which is the part 

1 " Inexpugnabile," impregnable. 2 Commotio." 

8 Epicurus : it seems to be spoken with some irony. 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 7 

of human frailty. For they say that anger is a commotion and 
perturbation of the mind, which is inconsistent with God. But 
if anger is unbecoming to a man, provided he be of wisdom 
and authority (since, when it falls upon the mind of any one, 
as a violent tempest it excites such waves that it changes the 
condition of the mind, the eyes gleam, the countenance trembles, 
the tongue stammers, the teeth chatter, the countenance is 
alternately stained now with redness spread over it, now with 
white paleness), how much more is so foul a change unbe 
coming to God ! And if man, when he has authority and 
power, inflicts widespread injury through anger, sheds blood, 
overthrows cities, destroys communities, reduces provinces to 
desolation, how much more is it to be believed that God, since 
He has power over the whole human race, and over the universe 
itself, would have been about to destroy all things if He were 
angry ! 

Therefore they think that so great and so pernicious an evil 
ought to be absent from Him. And if anger and excitement 
are absent from Him, because it is disfiguring and injurious, 
and He inflicts injury on no one, they think that nothing else 
remains, except that He is mild, calm, propitious, beneficent, 
the preserver. For thus at length He may be called the com 
mon Father of all, and the best and greatest, which His divine 
and heavenly nature demands. For if among men it appears 
praiseworthy to do good rather than to injure, to restore to 
life 1 rather than to kill, to save rather than to destroy, and 
innocence is not undeservedly numbered among the virtues, 
and he who does these things is loved, esteemed, honoured, and 
celebrated with all blessings and vows, in short, on account of 
his deserts and benefits is judged to be most like to God ; how 
much more right is it that God Himself, who excels in divine 
and perfect virtues, and who is removed from all earthly taint, 
should conciliate 2 the whole race of man by divine and heavenly 
. benefits ! Those things are spoken speciously and in a popular 
manner, and they allure many to believe them ; but they who 
entertain these sentiments approach nearer indeed to the truth, 
but they partly fail, not sufficiently considering the nature of 
the case. For if God is not angry with the impious and the 
unrighteous, it is clear that He does not love the pious and the 
1 " Vivificare." 2 " Promereri." 



8 LACTANTIUS 

righteous. Therefore the error of those is more consistent who 
take away at once both anger and kindness. For in opposite 
matters it is necessary to be moved to both sides or to neither. 
Thus, he who loves the good also hates the wicked, and he who 
does not hate the wicked does not love the good ; because the 
loving of the good arises from the hatred of the wicked, and 
the hating of the wicked has its rise from the love of the good. 
There is no one who loves life without a hatred of death, nor 
who is desirous of light, but he who avoids darkness. These 
things are so connected by nature, that the one cannot exist 
without the other. 

If any master has in his household a good and a bad servant, 
it is evident that he does not hate them both, or confer upon 
both benefits and honours ; for if he does this, he is both unjust 
and foolish. But he addresses the one who is good with friendlv 
words, and honours him, and sets him over his house and 
household, and all his affairs ; but punishes the bad one with 
reproaches, with stripes, with nakedness, with hunger, with 
thirst, with fetters : so that the latter may be an example to 
others to keep them from sinning, and the former to conciliate 
them ; so that fear may restrain some, and honour may excite 
others. He, therefore, who loves also hates, and he who hates 
also loves ; for there are those who ought to be loved, and there 
are those who ought to be hated. And as he who loves confers 
good things on those whom he loves, so he who hates inflicts 
evils upon those whom he hates ; which argument, because it is 
true, can in no way be refuted. Therefore the opinion of those 
is vain and false, who, when they attribute the one to God, 
take away the other, not less than the opinion of those who 
take away both. But the latter, 1 as we have shown, in part do 
not err, but retain that which is the better of the two ; whereas 
the former, 2 led on by the accurate method of their reasoning, 
fall into the greatest error, because they have assumed pre 
mises which are altogether false. For they ought not to have 
reasoned thus : Because God is not liable to anger, therefore He 
is not moved by kindness ; but in this manner : Because God is 
moved by kindness, therefore He is also liable to anger. For 
if it had been certain and undoubted that God is not liable to 
anger, then the other point would necessarily be arrived at. 
1 The Stoics. 2 Tll e Epicureans. 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 9 

But since the question as to whether God is angry is more open 
to doubt, while it is almost perfectly plain that He is kind, it is 
absurd to wish to subvert that which is certain by means of an 
uncertainty, since it is easier to confirm uncertain things by 
means of those which are certain. 

CHAP. vi. That God is angry. 

These are the opinions entertained by the philosophers re 
specting God. But if we have discovered that these things 
which have been spoken are false, there remains that one last re 
source, in which alone the truth can be found, which has never 
been embraced by philosophers, nor at any time defended : 
that it follows that God is angry, since He is moved by kind 
ness. This opinion is to be maintained and asserted by us ; 
for 1 this is the sum and turning-point on which the whole of 
piety and religion depend : and no honour can be due to God, 
if He affords nothing to His worshippers ; and no fear, if He 
is not angry with him who does not worship Him. 

CHAP. vil. Of man, and the brute animals, and religion. 

Though philosophers have often turned aside from reason 
through their ignorance of the truth, and have fallen into 
inextricable errors (for that is wont to happen to these which 
happens to a traveller ignorant of the way, and not confessing 
that he is ignorant, namely, that he wanders about, while he is 
ashamed to inquire from those whom he meets), no philosopher, 
however, has ever made the assertion that there is no difference 
between man and the brutes. Nor has any one at all, provided 
that he wished to appear wise, reduced a rational animal to the 
level of the mute and irrational ; which some ignorant persons 
do, resembling the brutes themselves, who, wishing to give 
themselves up to the indulgence of their appetite and pleasure, 
say that they are born on the same principle as all living 
animals, which it is impious for man to say. For who is so 
unlearned as not to know, who is so void of understanding as 
not to perceive, that there is something divine in man I I do 
not as yet come to the excellences of the soul and of the intel 
lect, by which there is a manifest affinity between man and 
God. Does not the position of the body itself, and the fashion 

1 " In eo enim summa omnis et cardo religionis pietatisque versatur." 



10 LACTANTIUS 

of the countenance, declare that we are not on a level with the 
dumb creation ? Their nature is prostrated to the ground and 
to their pasture, and has nothing in common with the heaven, 
which they do not look upon. But man, with his erect position, 
with his elevated countenance raised to the contemplation of 
the universe, compares his features with God, and reason recog 
nises reason. 1 

And on this account there is no animal, as Cicero says, 2 
except man, which has any knowledge of God. For he alone 
is furnished with wisdom, so that he alone understands religion; 
and this is the chief or only difference between man and the 
dumb animals. For the other things which appear to be pecu 
liar to man, even if there are not such in the dumb animals, 
nevertheless may appear to be similar. Speech is peculiar 
to man ; yet even in these there is a certain resemblance to 
speech. For they both distinguish one another by their voices; 
and when they are angry, they send forth a sound resembling 
altercation ; and when they see one another after an interval of 
time, they show the office of congratulation by their voice. To 
us, indeed, their voices appear uncouth, 3 as ours perhaps do to 
them; but to themselves, who understand one another, they 
are words. In short, in every affection they utter distinct ex 
pressions of voice by which they may show their state of mind. 
Laughter also is peculiar to man ; and yet we see certain 
indications of joy in other animals, when they use passionate 
gestures* with a view to sports, hang down 5 their ears, con 
tract their mouth, smooth their forehead, relax their eyes to 
sportiveness. What is so peculiar to man as reason and the 
foreseeing of the future 1 But there are animals which open 
several outlets in different directions from their lairs, that if 
any danger comes upon them, an escape may be open for them 
shut in ; but they would not do this unless they possessed 
intelligence and reflection. Others are provident for the future, 
as " ants, when they plunder a great heap of corn, mindful 
of the winter, and lay it up in their dwelling ; " 6 as bees, which 
" alone know a country and fixed abodes ; and mindful of the 

1 The reason of man, man s rational nature, recognises the divine reason, 
i.e. God. 

2 De Legibus, i. 8. s " Incondite," unformed, or rude. 

4 "Ad lusum gestiunt." 5 Demulcent." 6 Virg. JEn. iv. 402. 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 11 

winter which is to come, they practise labour in the summer, 
and lay up their gains as a common stock." 1 

It would be a long task if I should wish to trace out the 
things most resembling the skill of man, which are accustomed 
to be done by the separate tribes of animals. But if, in the 
case of all these things which are wont to be ascribed to man, 
there is found to be some resemblance even in the dumb animals, 
it is evident that religion is the only thing of which no trace 
can be found in the dumb animals, nor any indication. For 
justice is peculiar to religion, and to this no other animal attains. 
For man alone bears rule ; the other animals are subjected 2 to 
him. But the worship of God is ascribed to justice ; and he 
who does not embrace this, being far removed from the nature 
of man, will live the life of the brutes under the form of man. 
But since we differ from the other animals almost in this respect 
alone, that we alone of all perceive the divine might and power, 
w r hile in the others there is no understanding of God, it is surely 
impossible that in this respect either the dumb animals should 
have more wisdom, or human nature should be unwise, since all 
living creatures, and the whole system of nature, are subject to 
man on account of his wisdom. Wherefore if reason, if the 
force of man in this respect, excels and surpasses the rest of 
living creatures, inasmuch as he alone is capable of the know 
ledge of God, it is evident that religion can in no way be over 
thrown. 

CHAP. vni. Of religion. 

But religion is overthrown if we believe Epicurus speaking 
thus : " For the nature of gods must ever in itself of necessity 
enjoy immortality together with supreme repose, far removed 
and withdrawn from our concerns ; since, exempt from every 
pain, exempt from all dangers, strong in its own resources, not 
wanting aught of us, it is neither gained by favours nor moved 
by anger." 2 Now, when he says these things, does he think 
that any worship is to be paid to God, or does he entirely over 
throw religion ? For if God confers nothing good on any 
one, if He repays the obedience of His worshipper with no 
favour, what is so senseless, what so foolish, as to build temples, 
to offer sacrifices, to present gifts, to dimmish our property, 

1 Virg. Georg. iv. 155. 2 " Conciliata sunt." 3 Lucret. ii. 646. 



12 LACTANTIUS 

that we may obtain nothing? * But (it will be said) it is right 
that an excellent nature should be honoured. What honour 
can be due to a being who pays no regard to us, and is ungrate 
ful ? Can we be bound in any manner to him who has nothing 
in common with us? "Farewell to God," says Cicero, 2 "if 
He is such as to be influenced by no favour, and by no affec 
tion of men. For why should I say may He be propitious? for 
He can be propitious to no one." What can be spoken more 
contemptible with respect to God ? Farewell to Him, he says, 
that is, let Him depart and retire, since He is able to profit no 
one. But if God takes no trouble, nor occasions trouble to 
another, why then should we not commit crimes as often as it 
shall be in our power to escape the notice of men, 3 and to 
cheat the public laws ? Wherever we shall obtain a favour 
able opportunity of escaping notice, let us take advantage of 
the occasion : let us take away the property of others, either 
without bloodshed or even with blood, if there is nothing else 
besides the laws to be reverenced. 

While Epicurus entertains these sentiments, he altogether 
destroys religion ; and when this is taken away, confusion and 
perturbation of life will follow. But if religion cannot be taken 
away without destroying our hold of wisdom, by which we are 
separated from the brutes, and of justice, by which the public life 
may be more secure, how can religion itself be maintained or 
guarded without fear ? For that which is not feared is despised, 
and that which is despised is plainly not reverenced. Thus it 
comes to pass that religion, and majesty, and honour exist 
together with fear ; but there is no fear where no one is angry. 
Whether, therefore, you take away from God kindness, or 
anger, or both, religion must be taken away, without which the 
life of men is full of folly, of wickedness, and enormity. For 
conscience greatly curbs men, if we believe that we are living 
in the sight of God ; if we imagine not only that the actions 
which we perform are seen from above, but also that our 
thoughts and our words are heard by God. But it is pro 
fitable to believe this, as some imagine, not for the sake of 
the truth, but of utility, since laws cannot punish conscience 
unless some terror from above hangs over to restrain offences. 

1 i.e. without any result. 2 j) e 

8 " Hominum conscientiam fallere." 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 13 

Therefore religion is altogether false, and there is no divinity ; 
but all things are made up by skilful men, in order that they may 
live more uprightly and innocently. This is a great question, 
and foreign to the subject which we have proposed; but because 
it necessarily occurs, it ought to be handled, however briefly. 

CHAP. ix. Of the providence of God, and of opinions 
opposed to it. 

When the philosophers of former times had agreed in their 
opinions respecting providence, and there was no doubt but 
that the world was set in order by God and reason, and was 
governed by reason, Protagoras, in the times of Socrates, was 
the first of all who said that it was not clear to him whether 
there was any divinity or not. And this disputation of his was 
judged so impious, and so contrary to the truth and to religion, 
that the Athenians both banished him from their territories, and 
burnt in a public assembly those books of his in which these state 
ments were contained. But there is no need to speak respect 
ing his opinions, because he pronounced nothing certain. After 
these things Socrates and his disciple Plato, and those who flowed 
forth from the school of Plato like rivulets into different direc 
tions, namely, the Stoics and Peripatetics, were of the same 
opinion as those who went before them. 

Afterwards Epicurus said that there was indeed a God, 
because it was necessary that there should be in the world 
some being of surpassing excellence, distinction, and blessed 
ness ; yet that there was no providence, and thus that the 
world itself was ordered by no plan, nor art, nor workman 
ship, but that the universe was made up of certain minute and 
indivisible seeds. But I do not see what can be said more repug 
nant to the truth. For if there is a God, as God He is mani 
festly provident ; nor can divinity be attributed to Him in any 
other way than if He retains the past, and knows the present, and 
foresees the future. Therefore, in taking away providence, he 
also denied the existence of God. But when he openly acknow 
ledged the existence of God, at the same time he also admitted 
His providence ; for the one cannot exist at all, or be under 
stood without the other. But in those later times in which phi 
losophy had now lost its vigour, 1 there lived a certain Diagoras 
1 " Defloruerat." 



14 LACTANTIUS 

of Melos, who altogether denied the existence of God, and on 
account of this sentiment was called atheist ; * also Theodorus 
of Gyrene : both of whom, because they were unable to discover 
anything new, all things having already been said and found 
out, preferred even, in opposition to the truth, to deny that in 
which all preceding philosophers had agreed without any am 
biguity. These are they who attacked providence, which had 
been asserted and defended through so many ages by so many 
intellects. What then? Shall we refute those trifling and 
inactive philosophers by reason, or by the authority of distin 
guished men, or rather by both? But we must hasten onwards, 
lest our speech should wander too far from our subject. 

CHAP. x. Of the origin of the world, and the nature of affairs, 
and the providence of God. 

They who do not admit that the world was made by divine pro 
vidence, either say that it is composed of first principles coming 
together at random, or that it suddenly came into existence by 
nature, but hold, as Straton does, that nature has in itself the 
power of production and of diminution, but that it has neither 
sensibility nor figure, so that we may understand that all things 
were produced spontaneously, without any artificer or author. 
Each opinion is vain and impossible. But this happens to 
those who are ignorant of the truth, that they devise anything, 
rather than perceive that which the nature of the subject 2 re 
quires. First of all, with respect to those minute seeds, by the 
meeting together of which they say that the whole world came 
into existence, 3 I ask where or whence they are. Who has 
seen them at any time? who has perceived them? who has 
heard them? Had none but Leucippus eyes? had he alone 
a mind, who assuredly alone of all men was blind and senseless, 
since he spoke those things which no sick man could have 
uttered in his ravings, 4 or one asleep in his dreams ? 

The ancient philosophers argued that all things were made 
up of four elements. He would not admit this, lest he should 
appear to tread in the footsteps of others ; but he held that 
there were other first principles of the elements themselves, 
which can neither be seen, nor touched, nor be perceived by 
any part of the body. Thsy are so minute, he says, that there 
2 "Ratio." 3 " Coiisse." 4 " Delirare posset." 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 15 

is no edge of a sword so fine that they can be cut and divided 
by it. From which circumstance he gave them the name of 
atoms. But it occurred to him, that if they all had one and the 
same nature, they could not make up different objects of so 
great a variety as we see to be present in the world. He said, 
therefore, that there were smooth and rough ones, and round, 
and angular, and hooked. How much better had it been to 
be silent, than to have a tongue for such miserable and empty 
uses ! And, indeed, I fear lest he who thinks these things 
worthy of refutation, should appear no less to rave. Let us, 
however, reply as to one who says something. 1 If they are soft 2 
and round, it is plain that they cannot lay hold of one another, 
so as to make some body ; as, though any one should wish to 
bind together millet into one combination, 3 the very softness 
of the grains would not permit them to come together into a 
mass. If they are rough, and angular, and hooked, so that they 
may be able to cohere, then they are divisible, and capable of 
being cut ; for hooks and angles must project, 4 so that they 
may possibly be cut off. 

Therefore that which is able to be cut off and torn away, 
will be able both to be seen and held. "These," he says, 
" flutter about with restless motions through empty space, and 
are carried hither and thither, just as we see little particles 
of dust in the sun when it has introduced its rays and 
light through a window. From these there arise trees and 
herbs, and all fruits of the earth; from these, animals, and 
water, and fire, and all things are produced, and are again 
resolved into the same elements." This can be borne as long 
as the inquiry is respecting small matters. Even the world 
itself was made up of these. He has reached to the full 
extent of perfect madness : it seems impossible that anything 
further should be said, and yet he found something to add. 
" Since everything," he says, " is infinite, and nothing can be 
empty, it follows of necessity that there are innumerable worlds." 
What force of atoms had been so great, that masses so incal 
culable should be collected from such minute elements? And first 
of all I ask, What is the nature or origin of those seeds ? For 
if all things are from them, whence shall we say that they them- 

1 i.e. something to the purpose. 2 " Lenia ; " others read "Isevia," smooth. 
3 " Coagmentationem." * " Eminere," to stand out prominently. 



1C LACTANTIUS 

selves are? what nature supplied such an abundance of matter 
for the making of innumerable worlds ? But let us grant that he 
raved with impunity concerning worlds ; let us speak respecting 
this in which we are, and which we see. He says that all things 
are made from minute bodies which are incapable of division. 

If this were so, no object would ever need the seed of its 
own kind. Birds would be born without eggs, or eggs without 
bringing forth ; likewise the rest of the living creatures with 
out coition : trees and the productions of the earth would not 
have their own seeds, which we daily handle and sow. Why 
does a corn-field arise from grain, and again grain from a corn 
field? In short, if the meeting together and collecting of 
atoms would effect all things, all things would grow together in 
the air, since atoms flutter about through empty space. Why 
cannot the herb, why cannot the tree or grain, arise or be in 
creased without earth, without roots, without moisture, without 
seed ? From which it is evident that nothing is made up from 
atoms, since everything has its own peculiar and fixed nature, 
its own seed, its own law given from the beginning. Finally, 
Lucretius, as though forgetful of atoms, which he was main 
taining, in order that he might refute those who say that all 
things are produced from nothing, employed these arguments, 
which might have weighed against himself. For he thus 
spoke : " If things came from nothing, any kind might be 
born of anything; nothing would require seed." 1 Likewise 
afterwards : " We must admit, therefore, that nothing can 
come from nothing, since things require seed before they can 
severally be born, and be brought out into the buxom fields 
of air." 2 Who would imagine that he had brain when he said 
these things, and did not see that they were contrary to one 
another? For that nothing is made by means of atoms, is 
apparent from this, that everything has a definite 3 seed, unless 
by chance we shall believe that the nature both of fire and 
water is derived from atoms. Why should I say, that if mate 
rials of the greatest hardness are struck together with a violent 
blow, fire is struck out ? Are atoms concealed in the steel, or 
in the flint ? Who shut them in ? or why do they not leap 
forth spontaneously ? or how could the seeds of fire remain ill 
a material of the greatest coldness ? 

1 Lucret. i. 160. 2 Lucret. i. 206. 8 " Certuin." 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 17 

I leave the subject of the flint and steel. If you hold in the 
sun an orb of crystal filled with water, fire is kindled from the 
light which is reflected from the water, even in the most severe 
cold. Must we then believe that fire is contained in the water ? 
And yet fire cannot be kindled from the sun even in summer. 
If you shall breathe upon wax, or if a light vapour shall touch 
anything either the hard surface 1 of marble or a plate of 
m etal water is gradually condensed by means of the most 
minute drops. Also from the exhalation of the earth or sea 
mist is formed, which either, being dispersed, moistens what 
ever it has covered, or being collected, is carried aloft by 
the wind to high mountains, and compressed into cloud, and 
sends down great rains. Where, then, do we say that fluids 
are produced ? Is it in the vapour ? or in the exhalation ? or 
in the wind ? But nothing can be formed in that which is 
neither touched nor seen. Why should I speak of animals, 
in whose bodies we see nothing formed without plan, without 
arrangement, without utility, without beauty, so that the most 
skilful and careful marking out 2 of all the parts and members 
repels the idea of accident and chance ? But let us suppose 
it possible that the limbs, and bones, and nerves, and blood 
should be made up of atoms. What of the senses, the reflec 
tion, the memory, the mind, the natural capacity : from what 
seeds can they be compacted ? 3 He says, From the most 
minute. There are therefore others of greater size. How, 
then, are they indivisible ? 

In the next place, if the things which are not seen are formed 
from invisible seeds, it follows that those which are seen are 
from visible seeds. Why, then, does no one see them? But 
whether any one regards the invisible parts which are in man, 
or the parts which can be touched, and which are visible, who 
does not see that both parts exist in accordance with design ? 4 
How, then, can bodies which meet together without design effect 
anything reasonable ? 5 For we see that there is nothing in 
the whole world which has not in itself very great and won 
derful design. And since this is above the sense and capacity 
of man, to what can it be more rightly attributed than to the 
divine providence? If a statue, the resemblance of man, is 

1 " Crustam marmoris." 2 " Descriptio." 3 " Coagmentari." 

4 "Ratio." 5 " Rationale." 

LACT. VOL. II. B 



18 LACTANT1US 

made by the exercise of design and art, shall we suppose that 
man himself is made up of fragments which come together at 
random ? And what resemblance to the truth is there in the 
thing produced, 1 when the greatest and most surpassing skill 2 
can imitate nothing more than the mere outline and extreme 
lineaments 3 of the body? Was the skill of man able to give to 
his production any motion or sensibility ? I say nothing of the 
exercise of the sight, of hearing, and of smelling, and the won 
derful uses of the other members, either those which are in sight 
or those which are hidden from view. What artificer could 
have fabricated either the heart of man, or the voice, or his 
very wisdom ? Does any man of sound mind, therefore, think 
that that which man cannot do by reason and judgment, may 
be accomplished by a meeting together of atoms everywhere ad 
hering to each other ? You see into what foolish ravings they 
have fallen, while they are unwilling to assign to God the 
making and the care of all things. 

Let us, however, concede to them that the things which are 
earthly are made from atoms : are the things also which are 
heavenly ? They say that the gods are without contamination, 
eternal, and blessed ; and they grant to them alone an exemp 
tion, so that they do not appear to be made up of a meeting 
together of atoms. For if the gods also had been made up of 
these, they would be liable to be dispersed, the seeds at length 
being resolved, and returning to their own nature. Therefore, 
if there is something which the atoms could not produce, why 
may we not judge in the same way of the others ? But I ask 
why the gods did not build for themselves a dwelling-place 
before those first elements produced the world ? It is manifest 
that, unless the atoms had come together and made the heaven, 
the gods would still be suspended through the midst of empty 
space. By what counsel, then, by what plan, did the atoms 
from a confused mass collect themselves, so that from some 
the earth below was formed into a globe, and the heaven 
stretched out above, adorned with so great a variety of con 
stellations that nothing can be conceived more embellished? 
Can he, therefore, who sees such and so great objects, imagine 
that they were made without any design, without any provi 
dence, without any divine intelligence, but that such great and 
1 " Ficto." 2 Artificium." * Umbram et extrerna lineamenta." 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 19 

wonderful things arose out of fine and minute atoms ? Does it 
not resemble a prodigy, that there should be any human being 
who might say these things, or that there should be those who 
might believe them 1 as Democritus, who was his hearer, or 
Epicurus, to whom all folly flowed forth from the fountain of 
Leucippus. But, as others say, the world was made by Nature, 
which is without perception and figure. But this is much more 
absurd. If Nature made the world, it must have made it by judg 
ment and intelligence ; for it is he that makes something who 
has either the inclination to make it, or knowledge. If nature 
is without perception and figure, how can that be made by it 
which has both perception and figure, unless by chance any one 
thinks that the fabric of animals, which is so delicate, could have 
been formed and animated by that which is without perception, 
or that that figure of heaven, which is prepared with such fore 
sight for the uses of living beings, suddenly came into existence 
by some accident or other, without a builder, without an artificer? 
"If there is anything," says Chrysippus, "which effects those 
things which man, though he is endowed with reason, cannot 
do, that assuredly is greater, and stronger, and wiser than man." 
But man cannot make heavenly things ; therefore that which 
shall produce or has produced these things surpasses man in 
art, in design, in skill, and in power. Who, therefore, can 
it be but: God? But Nature, which they suppose to be, as it 
were, the mother of all things, if it has not a mind, will effect 
nothing, will contrive nothing ; for where there is no reflection 
there is neither motion nor efficacy. But if it uses counsel for 
the commencement of anything, reason for its arrangement, art 
for its accomplishment, energy for its consummation, and power 
to govern and control, why should it be called Nature rather than 
God ? Or if a concourse of atoms, or Nature without mind, 
made those things which we see, I ask why it was able to make 
the heaven, but unable to make a city or a house ? why it made 
mountains of marble, but did not make columns and statues ? 
But ought not atoms to have come together to effect these 
things, since they leave no position untried ? For concerning 
Nature, which has no mind, it is no wonder that it forgot to do 
these things. What, then, is the case ? It is plain that God, 
when He commenced this work of the world, than which 
nothing can be better arranged with respect to order, nor more 



20 LACTANT1US 

befitting as to utility, nor more adorned as to beauty, nor greater 
as to bulk, Himself made the things which could not be made 
by man ; and among these also man himself, to whom He gave 
a portion of His own wisdom, and furnished him with reason, 
as much as earthly frailty was capable of receiving, that he 
might make for himself the things which were necessary for 
his own uses. 

But if in the commonwealth of this world, so to speak, there 
is no providence which rules, no God who administers, no 
sense at all prevails in this nature of things. From what source 
therefore will it be believed that the human mind, with its skill 
and its intelligence, had its origin ? For if the body of man 
was made from the ground, from which circumstance man re 
ceived his name; 1 it follows that the soul, which has intelli 
gence, and is the ruler of the body, which the limbs obey as a 
king and commander, which can neither be looked upon nor 
comprehended, could not have come to man except from a wise 
nature. But as mind and soul govern everybody, so also does 
God govern the world. For it is not probable that lesser and 
humble things bear rule, but that greater and highest things do 
not bear rule. In short, Marcus Cicero, in his Tusculan Dis 
putations, and in his Consolation, says : " No origin of souls can 
be found on earth. For there is nothing, he says, mixed and 
compound 2 in souls, or which may appear to be produced and 
made up from the earth ; nothing moist or airy, 3 or of the nature 
of fire. For in these natures there is nothing which has the 
force of memory, of mind and reflection, which both retains the 
past and foresees the future, and is able to comprise the pre 
sent ; which things alone are divine For no source will ever be 
found from which they are able to come to man, unless it be 
from God." Since, therefore, with the exception of two or three 
vain calumniators, it is agreed upon that the world is governed 
by providence, as also it was made, and there is no one who 
ventures to prefer the opinion of Diagoras and Theodoras, or 
the empty fiction of Leucippus, or the levity of Democritus 
and Epicurus, either to the authority of those seven ancient men 
who were called wise, or to that of Pythagoras or of Socrates or 
Plato, and the other philosophers who judged that there is a pro 
vidence; therefore that opinion also is false, by which they think 
1 " Homo " ab " humo." 2 " Concretum." s " Flabile." 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 21 

that religion was instituted by wise men for the sake of terror 
and fear, in order that ignorant men might abstain from sins. 

But if this is true, it follows that we are derided by the wise 
men of old. But if they invented religion for the sake of de 
ceiving us, and moreover of deceiving the whole human race, 
therefore they were not wise, because falsehood is not consistent 
with the character of the wise man. But grant that they were 
wise ; what great success in falsehood was it, that they were 
able to deceive not only the unlearned, but Plato also, and 
Socrates, and so easily to delude Pythagoras, Zeno, and Aris 
totle, the chiefs of the greatest sects? There is therefore a 
divine providence, as those men whom I have named perceived, 
by the energy and power of which all things which we see were 
both made and are governed. For so vast a system of things, 1 
such arrangement and such regularity in preserving the settled 
orders and times, could neither at first have arisen without a 
provident artificer, or have existed so many ages without a 
powerful inhabitant, or have been perpetually governed without 
a skilful and intelligent 2 ruler ; and reason itself declares this. 
For whatever exists which has reason, must have arisen from 
reason. Now reason is the part of an intelligent and wise 
nature; but a wise and intelligent nature can be nothing else 
than God. Now the world, since it has reason, by which it is 
both governed and kept together, was therefore made by God. 
But if God is the maker and ruler of the world, then religion 

/ o 

is rightly and truly established ; for honour and worship are 
due to the author and common parent of all things. 

CHAP. xi. Of God, and that the one God, and ly whose 
providence the world is governed and exists. 

Since it is agreed upon concerning providence, it follows that 
we show whether it is to be believed that it belongs to many, 
or rather to one only. We have sufficiently taught, as I think, 
in our Institutions, that there cannot be many gods ; because, 
if the divine energy and power be distributed among several, 
it must necessarily be diminished. But that which is lessened 
is plainly mortal; but if He is not mortal, He can neither 
be lessened nor divided. Therefore there is but one God, 
in whom complete energy and power can neither be lessened 

1 " Tanta rerum magnitude." 2 Sentiente ; " others read sciente." 



22 LACTANTIUS 

nor increased. But if there are many, while they separately 
have something of power and authority, the sum itself de 
creases; nor will they separately be able to have the whole, 
which they have in common with others: so much will be 
wanting to each as the others shall possess. There cannot 
therefore be many rulers in this world, nor many masters in 
one house, nor many pilots in one ship, nor many leaders in 
one herd or flock, nor many queens in one swarm. But there 
could not have been many suns in heaven, as there are not 
several souls in one body ; so entirely does the whole of nature 
agree in unity. But if the world 

" Is nourished by a soul, 
A spirit whose celestial flame 
Glows in each member of the frame, 
And stirs the mighty whole," l 

it is evident from the testimony of the poet, that there is one 
God who inhabits the world, since the whole body cannot be 
inhabited and governed except by one mind. Therefore all 
divine power must be in one person, by whose will and com 
mand all things are ruled ; and therefore He is so great, that 
He cannot be described in words by man, or estimated by the 
senses. From what source, therefore, did the opinion or per 
suasion 2 respecting many gods come to men ? Without doubt, 
all those who are worshipped as gods were men, and were also 
the earliest and greatest kings ; but who is ignorant that they 
were invested with divine honours after death, either on account 
of the virtue by w T hich they had profited the race of men, or 
that they obtained immortal memory on account of the benefits 
and inventions by which they had adorned human life ? And 
not only men, but women also. And this, both the most 
ancient writers of Greece, whom they call tlieologi? and also 
Roman writers following and imitating the Greeks, teach ; of 
whom especially Euhemerus and our Ennius, who point out the 
birth-days, marriages, offspring, governments, exploits, deaths, 
and tombs 4 of all of them. And Tullius, following them, in 
his third book, On the Nature of the Gods, destroyed the public 

1 Virg. & n . vi. 726. 

"Persuasiove ; " most editions read " persuasione," but the meaning is 
not so good. 

8 A Sepulcra ;" others read " simulacra." 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 23 

religions ; but neither he himself nor any other person was able 
to introduce the true one, of which he was ignorant. And 
thus he himself testified that that which was false was evident ; 
that the truth, however, lay concealed. " Would to heaven," 
he says, " that I could as easily discover true things as refute 
those that are false!" 1 And this he proclaimed not with dis 
simulation as an academic, but truly and in accordance with 
the feeling of his mind, because the truth cannot be uprooted 
from human perceptions : that which the foresight of man was 
able to attain to, he attained to, that he might expose false 
things. For whatever is fictitious and false, because it is sup 
ported by no reason, is easily destroyed. There is therefore 
one God, the source and origin of all things, as Plato both felt 
and taught in the Timceus, whose majesty he declares to be so 
great, that it can neither be comprehended by the mind nor 
be expressed by the tongue. 

Hermes bears the same testimony, whom Cicero asserts 2 to 
be reckoned by the Egyptians among the number of the gods. 
I speak of him who, on account of his excellence and know 
ledge of many arts, was called Trismegistus ; and he was far 
more ancient not only than Plato, but than Pythagoras, and 
those seven wise men. In Xenophon, 3 Socrates, as he dis 
courses, says that "the form of God ought not to be inquired 
about ;" and Plato, in his Book of Laws? says : " What God is, 
ought not to be the subject of inquiry, because it can neither 
be found out nor related." Pythagoras also admits that there 
is but one God, saying that there is an incorporeal mind, which, 
being diffused and stretched through all nature, gives vital per 
ception to all living creatures ; but Antisthenes, in his Physics, 
said that there was but one natural God, although the nations 
and cities have gods of their own people. Aristotle, with his 
followers the Peripatetics, and Zeno with his followers the 
Stoics, say nearly the same things. Truly it would be a long 
task to follow up the opinions of all separately, who, although 
they used different names, nevertheless agreed in one power 
which governed the world. But, however, though philosophers 
and poets, and those, in short, who worship the gods, often 
acknowledge the supreme God, yet no one ever inquired into, 

1 De Nat. Deor. i. 32. 2 De Nat. Deor. iii. 22. 

8 Memor. iv. 3. 4 Lib. vii. 



24 LACTANTIUS 

no one discussed, the subject of His worship and honours ; with 
that persuasion, in truth, with which, always believing Him to 
be bounteous and incorruptible, they think 1 that He is neither 
angry with any one, nor stands in need of any worship. Thus 
there can be no religion where there is no fear. 

CHAP. xii. Of religion and the fear of God. 
Now, since we have replied to the impious and detestable 
wisdom, 2 or rather senselessness of some, let us return to our 
proposed subject. We have said that, if religion is taken away, 
neither wisdom nor justice can be retained : wisdom, because 
the understanding of the divine nature, in which we differ from 
the brutes, is found in man alone ; justice, because unless God, 
who cannot be deceived, shall restrain our desires, we shall live 
wickedly and impiously. Therefore, that our actions should be 
viewed by God, pertains not only to the usefulness of common 
life, but even to the truth ; because, if religion and justice are 
taken away, having lost our reason, we either descend to the 
senselessness 3 of the herds ; or to the savageness of the beasts, 
yea, even more so, since the beasts spare animals of their own 
kind. What will be more savage, what more unmerciful, than 
man, if, the fear of a superior being taken away, he shall be 
able either to escape the notice of or to despise the might of 
the laws ? It is therefore the fear of God alone which guards 
the mutual society of men, by which life itself is sustained, 
protected, and governed. But that fear is taken away if man 
is persuaded that God is without anger ; for that He is moved 
and indignant when unjust actions are done, not only the 
common advantage, but even reason itself, and truth, persuade 
us. We must again return to the former subjects, that, as we 
have taught that the world was made by God, we may teach 
why it was made. 

CHAP. xin. Of the advantage and use of the world and of 

the seasons. 
If any one considers the whole government of the world, he 

1 " Arbitrantur ; " some editions have "arbitrabantur," which appears 
preferable. 

2 " Prudentise ;" another reading is " imprudentise " 

3 " Stultitiam." 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 25 

will certainly understand how true is the opinion of the Stoics, 
who say that the world was made on our account. For all the 
things of which the world is composed, and which it produces 
from itself, are adapted to the use of man. Man, accordingly, 
uses fire for the purpose of warmth and light, and of softening 
his food, and for the working of iron ; he uses springs for 
drinking, and for baths ; he uses rivers for irrigating the fields, 
and assigning boundaries to countries; he uses the earth for 
receiving a variety of fruits, the hills for planting vineyards, 
the mountains for the use of trees and firewood, 1 the plains for 
crops of grain ; he uses the sea not only for commerce, and for 
receiving supplies from distant countries, but also for abun 
dance of every kind of fish. But if he makes use of these 
elements to which he is nearest, there is no doubt that he uses 
the heaven also, since the offices even of heavenly things are 
regulated for the fertility of the earth from which we live. The 
sun, with its ceaseless courses and unequal intervals, 2 completes 
its annual circles, and either at his rising draws forth the day 
for labour, or at his setting brings on the night for repose; 
and at one time by his departure farther towards the south, at 
another time by his approach nearer towards the north, he 
causes the vicissitudes of winter and summer, so that both by 
the moistures and frosts of winter the earth becomes enriched 
for fruitfulness, and by the heats of summer either the pro 
duce of grass 3 is hardened by maturity, or that which is in 
moist places, being seethed and heated, becomes ripened. The 
moon also, which governs the time of night, regulates her 
monthly courses by the alternate loss and recovery of light, 4 and 
by the brightness of her shining illumines the nights obscure 
with gloomy darkness, so that journeys in the summer heat, 
and expeditions, and works, may be performed without labour 
and inconvenience ; since 

" By night the light stubble, by night 
The dry meadows are better mown." 3 

The other heavenly bodies also, either at their rising or setting, 

1 " Lignorum." 

2 " Spatiis." The word properly refers to a racecourse. 

3 " Herbidse fruges." 4 " Amissi ac recepti lumiiiis vicibus." 
5 Virg. Georg. i. 289. 



26 LACTANTIUS 

supply favourable times l by their fixed positions. 2 Moreover, they 
also afford guidance to ships, that they may not wander through 
the boundless deep with uncertain course, since the pilot duly 
observing them arrives at the harbour of the shore at which he 
aims. 3 Clouds are attracted by the breath of the winds, that 
the fields of sown grain may be watered with showers, that the 
vines may abound with produce, and the trees with fruits. And 
these things are exhibited by a succession of changes throughout 
the year, that nothing may at any time be wanting by which 
the life of men is sustained. But 4 (it is said) the same earth 
nourishes the other living creatures, and by the produce of the 
same even the dumb animals are fed. Has not God laboured 
also for the sake of the dumb animals ? By no means ; be 
cause they are void of reason. On the contrary, we under 
stand that even these themselves in the same manner were 
made by God for the use of man, partly for food, partly for 
clothing, partly to assist him in his work ; so that it is manifest 
that the divine providence wished to furnish and adorn the life 
of men with an abundance of objects and resources, and on 
this account He both filled the air with birds, and the sea with 
fishes, and the earth with quadrupeds. But the Academics, 
arguing against the Stoics, are accustomed to ask why, if God 
made all things for the sake of men, many things are found 
even opposed, and hostile, and injurious to us, as well in the 
sea as on the land. And the Stoics, without any regard to the 
truth, most foolishly repelled this. For they say that there are 
many things among natural productions, 6 and reckoned among 
animals, the utility of which hitherto 6 escapes notice, but that 
this is discovered in process of the times, as necessity and use 
have already discovered many things which were unknown in 
former ages. What utility, then, can be discovered in mice, 
in beetles, in serpents, which are troublesome and pernicious to 
man ? Is it that some medicine lies concealed in them ? If 
there is any, it will at some time be found out, namely, as a 

1 " Opportunitates temporum." 

" Certis stationibus." Others read " sationibus," for certain kinds of 
sowing ; but " static " is applied to the stars by Seneca and Plinv 

" Designati. " 

4 An objection is here met and answered. 
6 " Gignentium." c Adhuc," omitted u 



0^ THE ANGER OF GOD. 27 

remedy against evils, whereas they complain that it is altogether 
evil. They say that the viper, when burnt and reduced to ashes, 
is a remedy for the bite of the same beast. How much better 
had it been that it should not exist at all, than that a remedy 
should be required against it drawn from itself ? 

They might then have answered with more conciseness and 
truth after this manner. When God had formed man as it 
were His own image, that which was the completion of His 
workmanship, He breathed wisdom into him alone, so that he 
might bring all things into subjection to his own authority and 
government, and make use of all the advantages of the world. 
And yet He set before him both good and evil things, inasmuch 
as He gave to him wisdom, the whole nature of which is em 
ployed in discerning things evil and good : for no one can choose 
better things, and know what is good, unless he at the same 
time knows to reject and avoid the things which are evil. They 
are both mutually connected with each other, so that, the one 
being taken away, the other must also be taken away. There 
fore, good and evil things being set before it, then at length 
wisdom discharges its office, and desires the good for usefulness, 
but rejects the evil for safety. Therefore, as innumerable 
good things have been given which it might enjoy, so also have 
evils, against which it might guard. For if there is no evil, 
no danger nothing, in short, which can injure man all the 
material of wisdom is taken away, and will be unnecessary for 
man. For if only good things are placed in sight, what need 
is there of reflection, of understanding, of knowledge, of reason ? 
since, wherever he shall extend his hand, that is befitting and 
adapted to nature : so that if any one should wish to place a 
most exquisite dinner before infants, who as yet have no taste, 
it is plain that each will desire that to which either impulse, or 
hunger, or even accident, shall attract them ; and whatever they 
shall take, it will be useful and salutary to them. What injury 
will it therefore be for them always to remain as they are, and 
always to be infants and unacquainted with affairs ? But if you 
add a mixture either of bitter things, or things useless, or even 
poisonous, they are plainly deceived through their ignorance 
of good and evil, unless wisdom is added to them, by which they 
may have the rejection of evil things and the choice of good 
things. 



28 LACTANTIUS 

You see, therefore, that we have greater need of wisdom on 
account of evils ; and unless these things had been proposed to 
us, we should not be a rational animal. But if this account is 
true, which the Stoics were in no manner able to see, that 
argument also of Epicurus is done away. God, he says, either 
wishes to take away evils, and is unable ; or He is able, and is 
unwilling; or He is neither willing nor able, or He is both 
willing and able. If He is willing and is unable, He is 
feeble, which is not in accordance with the character of God ; 
if He is able arid unwilling, He is envious, which is equally at 
variance with God ; if He is neither willing nor able, He is 
both envious and feeble, and therefore not God ; if He is both 
willing and able, which alone is suitable to God, from what 
source then are evils ? or why does He not remove them ? I 
know that many of the philosophers, who defend providence, 
are accustomed to be disturbed by this argument, and are almost 
driven against their will to admit that God takes no interest 
in anything, which Epicurus especially aims at ; but having ex 
amined the matter, we easily do away with this formidable argu 
ment. For God is able to do whatever He wishes, and there 
is no weakness or envy in God. He is able, therefore, to take 
away evils; but He does not wish to do so, and yet He is not on 
that account envious. For on this account He does not take 
them away, because He at the same time gives wisdom, as I 
have shown ; and there is more of goodness and pleasure in 
wisdom than of annoyance in evils. For wisdom causes us 
even to know God, and by that knowledge to attain to im 
mortality, which is the chief good. Therefore, unless we first 
know evil, we shall be unable to know good. But Epicurus 
did not see this, nor did any other, that if evils are taken away, 
wisdom is in like manner taken away ; and that no traces of 
virtue remain in man, the nature of which consists in enduring 
and overcoming the bitterness of evils. And thus, for the sake 
of a slight gain 1 in the taking away of evils, we should be 
deprived of a good, which is very great, and true, and peculiar 
to us. It is plain, therefore, that all things are proposed for 
the sake of man, as well evils as also goods. 

1 "Propter exiguum compendium sublatorum malorum." 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 29 

CHAP. xiv. Why God made man. 

It follows that I show for what purpose God made man him 
self. As He contrived the world for the sake of man, so He 
formed man himself on His own account, as it were a priest 
of a divine temple, a spectator of His works and of heavenly 
objects. For he is the only being who, since he is intelligent 
and capable of reason, is able to understand God, to admire His 
works, and perceive His energy and power ; for on this account 
he is furnished with judgment, intelligence, and prudence. On 
this account he alone, beyond the other living creatures, has been 
made with an upright body and attitude, so that he seems to 
have been raised up for the contemplation of his Parent. On 
this account he alone has received language, and a tongue the 
interpreter of his thought, that he may be able to declare the 
majesty of his Lord. Lastly, for this cause all things were 
placed under his control, that he himself might be under the 
control of God, their Maker and Creator. If God, therefore, 
designed man to be a worshipper of Himself, and on this account 
gave him so much honour, that he might rule over all things ; 
it is plainly most just that he should worship Him 1 who be 
stowed upon him such great gifts, and love man, who is united 
with us in the participation of the divine justice. For it is not 
right that a worshipper of God should be injured by a worshipper 
of God. From which it is understood that man was made for 
the sake of religion and justice. And of this matter Marcus 
Tullius is a witness in his books respecting the Laws, since he 
thus speaks : 2 " But of all things concerning which learned 
men dispute, nothing is of greater consequence than that it 
should be altogether understood that we are born to justice." 
And if this is most true, it follows that God will have all men 
to be just, that is, to have God and man as objects of their 
affection ; to honour God in truth as a Father, and to love man 
as a brother : for in these two things the whole of justice is 
comprised. But he who either fails to acknowledge God or acts 
injuriously to man, lives unjustly and contrary to his nature, 
and in this manner disturbs the divine institution and law. 

1 " Et Deum colere," etc. Some editions read, " et eum, qui tanta prse- 
stiterit," omitting the word " colere." 

2 I 10. 



30 LACTANTIUS 

CHAP. xv. Whence sins extended to man. 

Here perhaps some one may ask, Whence sins ^extended to 
man, or what perversion distorted the rule of the divine institu 
tion to worse things, so that, though he was born to justice, 
he nevertheless performs unjust works. I have already in a 
fornier place explained, that God at the same time set before 
him good and evil, and that He loves the good, and hates the 
evil which is contrary to this ; but that He permitted the evil 
on this account, that the good also might shine forth, since, as 
I have often taught, we understand that the one cannot exist 
without the other ; in short, that the world itself is made up of 
two elements opposing and connected with one another, of fire 
and moisture, and that light, could not have been made unless 
there had also been darkness, since there cannot be a higher 
place without a lower, nor a rising without a setting, nor 
warmth without cold, nor softness without hardness. Thus 
also we are composed of two substances equally opposed to one 
another soul and body : the one of which is assigned to the 
heaven, because it is slight and not to be handled ; the other to 
the earth, because it is capable of being laid hold of : the one 
is firm 1 and eternal, the other frail and mortal. Therefore 
good clings to the one, and evil to the other : light, life, and 
justice to the one ; darkness, death, and injustice to the other. 
Hence there arose among men the corruption of their nature, 
so that it was necessary that a law should be established, by 
which vices might be prohibited, and the duties of virtue be 
enjoined. Since, therefore, there are good and evil things in 
the affairs of men, the nature of which I have set forth, it must 
be that God is moved to both sides, both to favour when He 
sees that just things are done, and to anger when He perceives 
unjust things. 

But Epicurus opposes us, and says : " If there is in God the 
affection of joy leading Him to favour, and of hatred influenc 
ing Him to anger, He must of necessity have both fear, and 
inclination, and desire, and the other affections which belong 
to human weakness." It does not follow that he who is angry 
must fear, or that he who feels joy must grieve ; in short, they 
who are liable to anger are less timid, and they who are of a 
1 " Solidum." 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 31 

joyful temperament are less affected with grief. What need 
is there to speak of the affections of humanity, to which our 
nature yields ? Let us weigh the divine necessity ; for I am 
unwilling to speak of nature, since it is believed that our God 
was never born. The affection of fear has a subject-matter in 
man, but it has none in God. Man, inasmuch as he is liable 
to many accidents and dangers, fears lest any greater violence 
should arise which may strike, despoil, lacerate, dash down, 
and destroy him. But God, who is liable neither to want, nor 
injury, nor pain, nor death, can by no means fear, because 
there is nothing which can offer violence to Him. Also the 
reason and cause of desire is manifest in man. For, inasmuch 
as he was made frail and mortal, it was necessary that another 
and different sex should be made, by union with which off 
spring might be produced to continue the perpetuity of his 
race. But this desire has no place in God, because frailty and 
death are far removed from Him ; nor is there with Him any 
female in whose union He is able to rejoice; nor does He stand 
in need of succession, since He will live for ever. The same 
things may be said respecting envy and passion, to which, from 
sure and manifest causes, man is liable, but to which God is 
by no means liable. But, in truth, favour and anger and pity 
have their substance 1 in God, and that greatest and matchless 
power employs them for the preservation of the world. 

CHAP. xvi. Of God, and His anger and affections. 

Some one will ask what this substance is. First of all, when 
evils befall them, men in their dejected state for the most part 
have recourse to God: they appease and entreat Him, believing 
that He is able to repel injuries from them. He has therefore 
an occasion of exercising pity ; for He is not so unmerciful and 
a despiser of men as to refuse aid to those who are in distress. 
Very many, also, who are persuaded that justice is pleasing to 
God, both worship Him who is Lord and Parent of all, and 
with continual prayers and repeated vows offer gifts and sacri 
fices, follow up His name with praises, striving to gain His 
favour by just and good works. There is therefore a reason, 
on account of which God may and ought to favour them. For 
if there is nothing so befitting God as beneficence, and nothing 
1 " Materia " = subjective existence. 



32 LACTANTIUS 

so unsuited to His character as to be ungrateful, it is necessary 
that He should make some return for the services of those who 
are excellent, and who lead a holy life, that He may not be liable 
to the charge of ingratitude, which is worthy of blame 1 even in 
the case of a man. Bat, on the contrary, others are daring 2 
and wicked, who pollute all things with their lusts, harass with 
slaughters, practise fraud, plunder, commit perjury, neither 
spare relatives nor parents, neglect the laws, and even God 
Himself. 

Anger, therefore, has a befitting occasion 3 in God. For it 
is not right that, when He sees such things, He should not be 
moved, and arise to take vengeance upon the wicked, and de 
stroy the pestilent and guilty, so as to promote the interests of 
all good men. Thus even in anger itself there is also contained 
a showing of kindness. 4 Therefore the arguments are found 
to be empty and false, either of those who, when they will not 
admit that God is angry, will have it that He shows kindness, 
because this, indeed, cannot take place without anger; or of 
those who think that there is no emotion of the mind in God. 
And because there are some affections to which God is not 
liable, as desire, fear, avarice, grief, and envy, they have said 
that He is entirely free from all affection. For He is not 
liable to these, because they are vicious affections; but as to 
those which belong to virtue, that is, anger towards the 
wicked, regard towards the good, pity towards the afflicted, 
inasmuch as they are worthy of the divine power, He has 
affections of His own, 5 both just and true. And if He is not 
possessed of them, the life of man will be thrown into con 
fusion, and the condition of things will come to such disturb 
ance that the laws will be despised and overpowered, and 
audacity alone reign, so that no one can at length be in safety 
unless he who excels 6 in strength. Thus all the earth will be 
laid waste, as it were, by a common robbery. But now, since 
the wicked expect punishment, and the good hope for favour, 
and the afflicted look for aid, there is place for virtues, and 
crimes are more rare. But 7 it is said, ofttimes the wicked are 
more prosperous, and the good more wretched, and the just are 

"Criminosa." 2 " Facinorosi." 3 "Materia." 

" Gratification Froprios." c 

7 An objection is here met and answered. 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 33 

harassed with impunity by the unjust. We will hereafter con 
sider why these things happen. In the meantime let us explain 
respecting anger, whether there be any in God ; whether He 
takes no notice at all, and is unmoved at those things which are 
done with impiety. 

CHAP. XVIT. Of Godj His care and anger. 

God, says Epicurus, regards nothing ; therefore He has no 
power. For he who has power must of necessity regard affairs. 
For if He has power, and does not use it, what so great cause 
is there that, I will not say our race, but even the universe 
itself, should be contemptible in His sight ? On this account 
he says He is pure l and happy, because He is always at rest. 2 
To whom, then, has the administration of so great affairs been 
entrusted, 3 if these things which we see to be governed by the 
highest judgment are neglected by God? or how can he who 
lives and perceives be at rest ? For rest belongs either to sleep 
or to death. But sleep has not rest. For when we are asleep, 
the body indeed is at rest, but the soul is restless and agitated : 
it forms for itself images which it may behold, so that it exer 
cises its natural power of motion by a variety of visions, and 
calls itself away from false things, until the limbs are satiated, 
and receive vigour from rest. Therefore eternal rest belongs 
to death alone. Now if death does not affect God, it follows 
that God is never at rest. But in what can the action of God 
consist, but in the administration of the world ? But if God 
carries on the care of the world, it follows that He cares for 
the life of men, and takes notice of the acts of individuals, and 
He earnestly desires that they should be wise and good. This 
is the will of God, this the divine law ; and he who follows and 
observes this is beloved by God. It is necessary that He should 
be moved with anger against the man who has broken or de 
spised this eternal and divine law. If, he says, God does harm 
to any one, therefore He is not good. They are deceived by 
no slight error who defame all censure, whether human or 
divine, with the name of bitterness and malice, thinking that 
He ought to be called injurious 4 who visits the injurious with 
punishment. But if this is so, it follows that we have injurious 
laws, which enact punishment for offenders, and injurious judges 
1 " Incorruptus." 2 " Quietus." * " Cessit." 4 "Nocentes." 
LACT. VOL. IT. C 



34 LACTANTIUS 



who inflict capital punishments on those convicted of crime. 
But if the law is just which awards to the transgressor his due, 
and if the judge is called upright and good when he punishes 
crimes (for he guards the safety of good men who punishes the 
evil), it follows that God, when He opposes the evil, is not 
injurious; but he himself is injurious who either injures an 
innocent man, or spares an injurious person that he may injure 
many. 

I would gladly ask from those who represent God as immove- 
able, 1 if any one had property, a house, a household 2 of slaves, 
and his slaves, despising the forbearance of their master 
should attack all things, and themselves take the enjoyment 
of his goods, if his household should honour them, while the 
master was despised by all, insulted, and deserted: could he 
be a wise man who should not avenge the insults, but permit 
those over whom he had power to have the enjoyment of his 
property ? Can such forbearance be found in any one ? if, 
indeed, it is to be called forbearance, and not rather a kind of 
insensible stupor. But it is easy to endure contempt. What 
if those things were done which are spoken of by Cicero ? 3 
"For I ask, if any head of a family, 4 when his children had 
been put to death by a slave, his wife slain and his house set 
on fire, should not exact most severe punishment from that 
slave, whether he would appear to be kind and merciful, or 
inhuman and most cruel?" But if to pardon deeds of this 
kind is the part of cruelty rather than of kindness, 5 it is not 
therefore the part of goodness in God not to be moved at 
those things which are done unjustly. For the world is, as it 
were, the house of God, and men, as it were, His slaves ; and if 
iis name is a mockery to them, what kind or amount of forbear 
ance is it to give 6 up His own honours, to see wicked and unjust 
:mngs done, and not to be indignant, which is peculiar and 
natural to Him who is displeased with sins ! To be anory 
therefore, fc the part of reason: for thus faults are removed 
and licentiousness is curbed; and this is plainly in accordance 
with justice and wisdom. 

But the Stoics did not see that there is a distinction between 



f em " = not sub Ject to emotions. * Familiam 

the master of 1 
6 " Ut cedat." 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 35 

right and wrong, that there is a just and also an unjust anger ; 
and because they did not find a remedy for the matter, they 
wished altogether to remove it. But the Peripatetics said that 
it was not to be cut out, but moderated ; to whom we have 
made a sufficient reply in the sixth book of the Institutions. 
Now, that the philosophers were ignorant of the nature of 
anger, is plain from their definitions, which Seneca enumerated 
in the books which he composed on the subject of anger. 
" Anger is," he says, " the desire of avenging an injury." 
Others, as Posidonius says, describe it as the desire of punish 
ing him by whom you think that you have been unfairly 
injured. Some have thus defined it : " Anger is an incite 
ment of the mind to injure him who either has committed an 
injury, or who has wished to do so." The definition of Aristotle 
does not differ greatly from ours ; for he says that " anger is 
the desire of requiting pain." This is the unjust anger, con 
cerning which we spoke before, which is contained even in the 
dumb animals ; but it is to be restrained in man, lest he should 
rush to some very great evil through rage. This cannot exist 
in God, because He cannot be injured; 1 but it is found in 
man, inasmuch as he is frail. For the inflicting 2 of injury 
inflames 3 anguish, and anguish produces a desire of revenge. 
Where, then, is that just anger against offenders ? For this is 
evidently not the desire of revenge, inasmuch as no injury 
precedes. I do not speak of those who sin against the laws ; 
for although a judge may be angry with these without incur 
ring blame, let us, however, suppose that he ought to be of 
a sedate mind when he sentences the guilty to punishment, 
because he is the executor 4 of the laws, not of his own spirit 
or power ; for so they wish it who endeavour to extirpate anger. 
But I speak of those in particular who are in our own power, 
as slaves, children, wives, and pupils ; for when we see these 
offend, we are incited to restrain them. 

For it cannot fail to be, that he who is just and good is dis 
pleased with things which are bad, and that he who is displeased 
with evil is moved when he sees it practised. Therefore we 
arise to take vengeance, not because we have been injured, but 

1 " Illsesibilis est." Others read "stabilis est," he is firm. The reading 
of the text is confirmed by " Isesio " in the next clause. 

3 " Lsesio." 3 " Inurit," burns in. * " Minister," 



36 LACTANTIUS 

that discipline may be preserved, morals may be corrected, and 
licentiousness be suppressed. This is just anger ; and as it is 
necessary in man for the correction of wickedness, so mani 
festly is it necessary in God, from whom an example comes to 
man. For as we ought to restrain those who are subject to cm- 
power, so also ouo;ht God to restrain the offences of all. And 
in order that He may do this, He must be angry ; because it is 
natural for one who is good to be moved and incited at the 
fault of another. Therefore they ought to have given this 
definition : Anger is an emotion of the mind arousing itself 
for the restraining of faults. For the definition given by 
Cicero, " Anger is the desire of taking vengeance," does not 
differ much from those already mentioned. But that anger 
which we may call either fury or rage ought not to exist even 
in man, because it is altogether vicious ; but the anger which 
relates to the correction of vices ought not to be taken away 
from man ; nor can it be taken away from God, because it is 
both serviceable for the affairs of men, and necessary. 

CHAP. xvin. Of the punishment of fa-tilts, that it cannot take 
place without anger. 

What need is there, they say, of anger, since faults can be 
corrected without this affection ? But there is no one who can 
calmly see any one committing an offence. This may perhaps 
be possible in him who presides over the laws, because the 
deed is not committed before his eyes, but it is brought before 
him as a doubtful matter from another quarter. Nor can any 
wickedness be so manifest, that there is no place for a defence ; 
and therefore it is possible that a judge may not be moved 
against him who may possibly be found to be innocent ; and 
when the detected crime shall have come to light, he now no 
longer uses his own opinion, but that of the laws. It may be 
granted that he does that which he does without anger ; for he 
has that which he may follow. We, undoubtedly, when an 
offence is committed by our household at home, whether we 
see or perceive it, must be indignant ; for the very sight of a 
sin is unbecoming. For he who is altogether unmoved either 
approves of faults, which is more disgraceful and unjust, or 
avoids the trouble of reproving them, which a tranquil spirit 
and a quiet mind despises and refuses, unless anger shall have 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 37 

aroused and incited it. But when any one is moved, and yet 
through unseasonable leniency grants pardon more frequently 
than is necessary, or at all times, he evidently both destroys the 
life of those whose audacity he is fostering for greater crimes, 
and furnishes himself with a perpetual source of annoyances. 
Therefore the restraining of one s anger in the case of sins is 
faulty. 

Archytas of Tarentum is praised, who, when he had found 
everything ruined 1 on his estate, rebuking the fault of his bailiff, 
said, " Wretch, I would have beaten you to death if I had not been 
angry." They consider this to be a singular example of forbear 
ance ; but influenced by authority, they do not see how foolishly 
he spoke and acted. For if (as Plato says) no prudent man 
punishes because there is an offence, but to prevent the occur 
rence of an offence, it is evident how evil an example this 
wise man put forth. For if slaves shall perceive that their 
master uses violence when he is not angry, and abstains from 
violence 2 when he is angry, it is evident that they will not 
commit slight offences, lest they should be beaten ; but will 
commit the greatest offences, that they may arouse the anger 
of the perverse man, and escape with impunity. But I should 
praise him if, when he was enraged, he had given space to his 
anger, that the excitement of his mind might calm down through 
the interval of time, and his chastisement might be confined 
within moderate limits. Therefore, on account of the magni 
tude of the anger, punishment ought not to have been inflicted, 
but to have been delayed, lest it should inflict 3 upon the offender 
pain greater than is just, or occasion an outburst of fury in the 
punisher. But now, how is it equitable or wise, that any one 
should be punished on account of a slight offence, and should 
be unpunished on account of a very great one ? But if he had 
learned the nature and causes of things, he never would have 
professed so unsuitable a forbearance, that a wicked slave 
should rejoice that his master has been angry with him. For 
as God has furnished the human body with many and various 
senses which are necessary for the use of life, so also He has 
assigned to the soul various affections by which the course of 
life might be regulated ; and as He has given desire for the 

1 " Corrupta esse omnia." 2 " Parcere." 

3 " Inureret," i.e. should burn in, or brand. 



38 LACTANTIUS 

sake of producing offspring, so has He given anger for the 
sake of restraining faults. 

But they who are ignorant of the ends of good and evil things, 
as they employ sensual desire for the purposes of corruption and 
pleasure, in the same manner make use of anger and passion 
for the inflicting of injury, while they are angry with those 
whom they regard with hatred. Therefore they are angry even 
with those who commit no offence, even with their equals, or 
even with their superiors. Hence they daily rush to monstrous l 
deeds ; hence tragedies often arise. Therefore Archytas would 
be deserving of praise, if, when he had been enraged against 
any citizen or equal who injured him, he had curbed himself, 
and by forbearance mitigated the impetuosity of his fury. 
This self-restraint is glorious, by which any great evil which 
impends is restrained; but it is a fault not to check the faults 
of slaves and children; for through their escaping without 
punishment they will proceed to greater evil. In this case 
anger is not to be restrained ; but even if it is in a state of 
inactivity, 2 it must be aroused. But that which we say respect 
ing man, we also say respecting God, who made man like to 
Himself. I omit making mention of the figure of God, because 
the Stoics say that God has no form, and another great subject 
will arise if we should wish to refute them. I only speak re 
specting the soul. If it belongs 3 to God to reflect, to be wise, 
to understand, to foresee, to excel, and of all animals man alone 
has these qualities, it follows that he was made after the like 
ness of God ; but on this account he goes on to vice, because, 
being mingled with frailty derived from earth, he is unable to 
preserve pure and uncontaminated that which he has received 
from God, unless he is imbued with the precepts of justice by 
the same God. 

CHAP, xix. Of the soul and body, and of providence. 
But since he is made up, as we have said, of two parts, soul 
and body, the virtues are contained in the one, and vices in the 
other, and they mutually oppose each other. For the good pro 
perties of the soul, which consist in restraining lusts, are con 
trary to the body ; and the good properties of the body, which 

"Immania," i.e. of an inhuman character. 
2 "Jacet." 3 "Deosubjacet." 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 39 

consist in every kind of pleasure, are hostile to the soul. But if 
the virtue of the soul shall have resisted the desires, and sup 
pressed them, he will be truly like to God. From which it is 
evident that the soul of man, which is capable of divine virtue, 
is not mortal. But there is this distinction, that since virtue is 
attended with bitterness, and the attraction of pleasure is sweet, 
great numbers are overcome and are drawn aside to the pleasant 
ness ; but they who have given themselves up to the body and 
earthly things are pressed to the earth, and are unable to attain 
to the favour of the divine bounty, because they have polluted 
themselves with the defilements of vices. But they who, fol 
lowing God, and in obedience to Him, have despised the desires 
of the body, and, preferring virtue to pleasures, have preserved 
innocence and righteousness, these God recognises as like to 
Himself. 

Since, therefore, He has laid down a most holy law, and 
wishes all men to be innocent and beneficent, is it possible that 
He should not be angry when He sees that His law is despised, 
that virtue is rejected, and pleasure made the object of pursuit ? 
But if He is the governor of the world, as He ought to be, 
He surely does not despise that which is even of the greatest 
importance in the whole world. If He has foresight, as it is 
befitting that God should have, it is plain that He consults the 
interests of the human race, in order that our life may be more 
abundantly supplied, and better, and safer. If He is the Father 
and God of all, He is undoubtedly delighted with the virtues 
of men, and provoked by their vices. Therefore He loves the 
just, and hates the wicked. There is no need (one says) of 
hatred ; for He once for all has fixed a reward for the good, 
and punishment for the wicked. But if any one lives justly 
and innocently, and at the same time neither worships God nor 
has any regard for Him, as Aristides, and Timon, 1 and others 
of the philosophers, will he escape 2 with impunity, because, 
though he has obeyed the law of God, he has nevertheless 
despised God Himself? There is therefore something on 

1 Others read " Cimon." If the reading Timon be retained, the reference 
is not to Timon who is called "the Misanthrope," but to Timon the philo 
sopher of Phlius, who lived in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and 
belonged to the sect of the Sceptics. 

2 " Cedetne huic impune." 



40 LACTANTIUS 

account of. which God may be angry with one rebelling against 
Him, as it were, in reliance upon His integrity. If He can be 
angry with this man on account of his pride, why not more so 
with the sinner, who has despised the law together with the 
Lawgiver? The judge cannot pardon offences, because he is 
subject to the will of another. But God can pardon, because 
He is Himself the arbitrator l and judge of His own law ; and 
when He laid down this, He did not surely deprive Himself of 
all power, but He has the liberty of bestowing pardon. 

CHAP, xx. Of o/ences, and the mercy of God. 

If He is able to pardon, He is therefore able also to be angry. 
Why, then, some one will say, does it often occur, that they 
who sin are prosperous, and they who live piously are wretched ? 
Because fugitives and disinherited 2 persons live without re 
straint, and they who are under the discipline of a father or 
master live in a more strict and frugal manner. For virtue is 
proved and fixed 3 by means of ills ; vices by means of pleasure. 
Nor, however, ought he who sins to hope for lasting impunity, 
because there is no lasting happiness. 

" But, in truth, the last day is always to be looked for by 
man ; and no one ought to be called happy before his death 
and last funeral rites," 4 as the not inelegant poet says. It is 
the end which proves happiness, and no one is able to escape 
the judgment of God, either when alive or after death. For 
He has the power both to cast down the living from on high, 
and to punish the dead with eternal torments. Nay, he says, 
if God is angry, He ought to have inflicted vengeance at once, 
and to have punished every one according to his desert. But (it 
is replied) if He had done this, no one would survive. For there 
is no one who offends in no respect, and there are many things 
which excite to the commission of sin age, intemperance, want, 
opportunity, reward. To such an extent is the frailty of the 
flesh with which we are clothed liable to sin, that unless God 
were indulgent to this necessity, perhaps too few would live. 
On this account He is most patient, and restrains His anger. 
For because there is in Him perfect virtue, it follows of neces 
sity that His patience also is perfect, which is itself also a 

1 " Disceptator." 2 "Abdicati." 

8 " Constat." * Ovid, Metam. iii. 153. 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 41 

virtue. How many men, from having been sinners, have after 
wards become righteous; from being injurious, have become 
good ; from being wicked, have become temperate ! How many 
who were in early life base, and condemned by the judgment of 
all, afterwards have turned out praiseworthy ! But it is plain 
that this could not happen if punishment followed every offence. 
The public laws condemn those who are manifestly guilty ; 
but there are great numbers whose offences are concealed, 
great numbers who restrain the accuser either by entreaties or 
by reward, great numbers who elude justice by favour or influ 
ence. But if the divine censure should condemn all those who 
escape the punishment of men, there would be few or even no 
men on the earth. In short, even that one reason for destroy 
ing the human race might have been a just one, that men, 
despising the living God, pay divine honour to earthly and 
frail images, as though they were of heaven, adoring works 
made by human hands. And though God their Creator made 
them of elevated countenance and upright figure, and raised 
them to the contemplation of the heaven and the knowledge 
of God, they have preferred, like cattle, to bend themselves 
to the earth. For he is low, and curved, and bent downward, 
who, turning away from the sight of heaven and God his 
Father, worships things of the earth, which he ought to have 
trodden upon, that is, things made and fashioned from earth. 
Therefore, amidst such great impiety and such great sins of 
men, the forbearance of God attains this object, that men, con 
demning the errors of their past life, correct themselves. In 
short, there are many who are just and good ; and these having 
laid aside the worship of earthly things, acknowledge the 
majesty of the one and only God. But though the forbearance 
of God is very great and most useful ; yet, although late, He 
punishes the guilty, and does not suffer them to proceed further, 
when He sees that they are incorrigible. 

CHAP. xxi. Of the anger of God and man. 

There remains one question, and that the last. For some 
one will perhaps say, that God is so far from being angry, that 
in His precepts He even forbids man to be angry. I might 
say that the anger of man ought to be curbed, because he is 
often angry unjustly ; and he has immediate emotion, because 



42 LACTANTIUS 

he is only for a time. 1 Therefore, lest those things should be 
done which the low, and those of moderate station, and great 
kings do in their anger, his rage ought to have been moderated 
and suppressed, lest, being out of his mind, 2 he should commit 
some inexpiable crime. But God is not angry for a short time, 3 
because He is eternal and of perfect virtue, and He is never 
angry unless deservedly. But, however, the matter is not so ; 
for if He should altogether prohibit anger, He Himself would 
have been in some measure the censurer of His own workman 
ship, since He from the beginning had inserted anger in the 
liver 4 of man, since it is believed that the cause of this emotion 
is contained in the moisture of the gall. Therefore He does 
not altogether prohibit anger, because that affection is necessarily 
given, but He forbids us to persevere in anger. For the anger 
of mortals ought to be mortal ; for if it is lasting, enmity is 
strengthened to lasting destruction. Then, again, when He 
enjoined us to be angry, and yet not to sin, it is plain that He 
did not tear up anger by the roots, but restrained it, that in 
every correction we might preserve moderation and justice. 
Therefore He who commands us to be angry is manifestly 
Himself angry ; He who enjoins us to be quickly appeased is 
manifestly Himself easy to be appeased : for He has enjoined 
those things which are just and useful for the interests of 
society. 5 

But because I had said that the anger of God is not for 
a ^time 6 only, as is the case with man, who becomes inflamed 
with an immediate 7 excitement, and on account of his frailty 
is unable easily to govern himself, we ought to understand that 
because God is eternal, His anger also remains to eternity ; but, 
on the other hand, that because He is endued with the greatest 
excellence, He controls His anger, and is not ruled by it, but 
that He regulates it according to His will. And it is plain 
that this is not opposed to that which has just been said. For 

1 Temporalis." 

Mentis impos," i.e. not having possession of his mind, opposed to 
mentis compos." Some editions add, " in bile." 

Ad prsesens." * As supposed to be the geat of the passions 

^ Rebus communibus." 6 " Temporalem." 

1 1 esentanea." The word is applied to a remedy which operates in- 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 43 

if His anger had been altogether immortal, there would be no 
place after a fault for satisfaction or kind feeling, though He 
Himself commands men to be reconciled before the setting of 
the sun. 1 But the divine anger remains for ever against those 
who ever sin. Therefore God is appeased not by incense or a 
victim, not by costly offerings, which things are all corruptible, 
but by a reformation of the morals : and he who ceases to sin 
renders the anger of God mortal. For this reason He does not 
immediately 2 punish every one who is guilty, that man may 
have the opportunity of coming to a right mind, 3 and correcting 
himself. 

CHAP. xxu. Of sins, and the verses of the Sibyls respecting 
them recited. 

This is what I had to say, most beloved Donatus, respecting 
the anger of God, that you might know how to refute those 
who represent God as being without emotions. 4 It only re 
mains that, after the practice of Cicero, I should use an epilogue 
by way of peroration. As he did in the Tusculan Disputations, 
when discoursing on the subject of death, so we in this work 
ought to bring forward divine testimonies, which may be 
believed, to refute the persuasion of those who, believing that 
God is without anger, destroy all religion, without which, as we 
have shown, we are either equal to the brutes in savageness, or 
to the cattle in foolishness ; for it is in religion only that is, in 
the knowledge of the supreme God that wisdom consists. All 
the prophets, being filled with the Divine Spirit, speak nothing 
else than of the favour of God towards the righteous, and His 
anger against the ungodly. And their testimony is indeed 
sufficient for us ; but because it is not believed by those who 
make a display of wisdom by their hair and dress, 5 it was neces 
sary to refute them by reason and arguments. For they act so 
preposterously, 6 that human things give authority to divine 
things, whereas divine things ought rather to give authority to 
human. But let us now leave these things, lest we should 
produce no effect upon them, and the subject should be in- 

1 See Eph. iv. 26. 2 " Ad prsesens." 

3 " Resipiscendi." 4 " Immobilem." 

5 The philosophers wore long hair and cloaks. See Instit. iii. 25. 

6 " Prsepostere," i.e. in a reversed order, putting the last first. 



44 LACTANTIUS 

definitely drawn out. Let us therefore seek those testimonies 
which they can either believe, or at any rate not oppose. 

Authors of great number and weight have made mention 
of the Sibyls ; of the Greeks, Aristo the Chian, and Apollo- 
dorus the Erythraean ; of our writers, Varro and Fenestella. 
All these relate that the Erythraean Sibyl was distinguished 
and noble beyond the rest. Apollodorus, indeed, boasts of 
her as his own citizen and countrywoman. But Fenestella 
also relates that ambassadors were sent by the senate to 
ErythrsB, that the verses of this Sibyl might be conveyed 
to Eome, and that the consuls Curio and Octavius might 
take care that they should be placed in the Capitol, which 
had then been restored under the care of Quintus Catulus. 
In her writings, verses of this kind are found respecting the 
supreme God and Maker of the world : " The incorruptible 
and eternal Maker who dwells in the heaven, holding forth good 
to the good, a much greater reward, but stirring up anger and 
rage against the evil and unjust." Again, in another place, 
enumerating the deeds by which God is especially moved to 
anger, she introduced these things : " Avoid unlawful services, 
and serve the living God. Abstain from adultery and im 
purity ; bring up a pure generation of children ; do not kill : 
for the Immortal will be angry with every one who may sin." 
Therefore He is angry with sinners. 

CHAP, xxiii. Of the anger of God and the punishment of sins, 
and a recital of the verses of the Sibyls respecting it ; and, 
moreover, a reproof and exhortation. 

But because it is related by most learned men that there have 
been many Sibyls, the testimony of one may not be sufficient 
to confirm the truth, as we purpose to do. The volumes, indeed, 
of the Cumsean Sibyl, in which are written the fates of the 
Romans, are kept secret ; but the writings of all the others are, 
for the most part, not prohibited from being in common use. 
And of these another, denouncing the anger of God against all 
nations on account of the impiety of men, thus began : " Since 
great anger is coming upon a disobedient world, I disclose the 
commands of God to the last age, prophesying to all men from 
city to city." 

Another (Sibyl) also said, that the deluge was caused by the 



ON THE ANGEE OF GOD. 45 

indignation of God against the unrighteous in a former age, 
that the wickedness of the human race might be extinguished : 
" From the time when, the God of heaven being enraged 
against the cities themselves and all men, a deluge having 
burst forth, the sea covered the earth." In like manner she 
foretold a conflagration about to take place hereafter, in which 
the impiety of men should again be destroyed : " And at some 
time, God no longer soothing His anger, but increasing it, and 
destroying the race of men, and laying waste the whole of it by 
fire." From which mention is thus made concerning Jupiter 
by Ovid: 1 " He remembers also that it is fated that the time 
shall come in which the sea, the earth, and the palace of heaven, 
being caught by fire, shall be burnt, and the curiously wrought 
framework of the world 2 be in danger." And this must come 
to pass at the time when the honour and worship of the Supreme 
shall have perished among men. The same (Sibyl), however, 
testifying that He was appeased by reformation 3 of conduct 
and self -improvement, added these things : " But, ye mortals, 
in pity 4 turn yourselves now, and do not lead the great God to 
every kind of anger." And also a little later : " He will not 
destroy, but will again restrain His anger, if you all practise 
valuable piety in your minds." Then another Sibyl declares 
that the Father of heavenly and earthly things ought to be 
loved, lest His indignation should arise, to the destruction of 
men : " Lest by chance the immortal God should be angry, 
and destroy the whole race of men, their life and shameless 
race, it is befitting that we love the wise, ever-living God the 
Father." 

From these things it is evident that the arguments of the 
philosophers are vain, who imagine that God is without anger, 
and among His other praises reckon that which is most useless, 
detracting from Him that which is most salutary for human 
affairs, by which majesty itself exists. For this earthly king 
dom and government, unless guarded by fear, is broken down. 
Take away anger from a king, and he will not only cease to be 
obeyed, but he will even be cast down headlong from his height. 
Yea, rather, take away this affection from any person of low 

1 Metam. i. 256. 2 " Moles operosa laboret." 

3 " Pcenitentia factorum." 

4 i hin. Others read, a ftiheot, wretched. 



46 LACTANTIUS 

degree, and who will not plunder him? who will not deride 
him ? who will not treat him with injury ? Thus he will be 
able to have neither clothing, nor an abode, nor food, since 
others will deprive him of whatever he has ; much less can we 
suppose that the majesty of the heavenly government can exist 
without anger and fear. The Milesian Apollo being consulted 
concerning the religion of the Jews, inserted these things in his 
answer : " God, the King and Father of all, before whom the 
earth trembles, and the heaven and sea, and whom the recesses 
of Tartarus and the demons dread." 

If He is so mild, as the philosophers will have it, how is it 
that not only the demons and ministers of such great power, 
but even the heaven and earth, and the whole system of the 
universe, tremble at His presence ? For if no one submits to 
the service of another except by compulsion, it follows that all 
government exists by fear, and fear by anger. For if any one 
is not aroused against one who is unwilling to obey, it will not 
be possible for him to be compelled to obedience. Let any 
one consult his own feelings ; he will at once understand that 
no one can be subdued to the command of another without 
anger and chastisement. Therefore, where there shall be no 
anger, there will be no authority. But God has authority; 
therefore also He must have anger, in which authority con 
sists. Therefore let no one, induced by the empty prating l of 
the philosophers, train himself to the contempt of God, which 
is the greatest impiety. We all are bound both to love Him, 
because He is our Father ; and to reverence Him, because He 
is our Lord : both to pay Him honour, because He is bounteous; 
and to fear Him, because He is severe : each character in Him 
is worthy of reverence. 2 Who can preserve his piety, and yet 
fail to love the parent of his life ? or who can with impunity 
despise Him who, as ruler of all things, has true and everlast 
ing power over all ? If you consider Him in the character of 
Father, He supplies to us our entrance to the light which we 
enjoy: through Him we live, through Him we have entered 
into the abode 3 of this world. If you contemplate Him as 
God, it is He who nourishes us with innumerable resources : 
it is He who sustains us, we dwell in His house, we are His 

1 " Vaniloqueiitia." 2 Venerabilis." 

8 " Hospitium," i.e. a place of hospitality. 



ON THE ANGER OF GOD. 47 

household; 1 and if we are less obedient than was befitting, 
and less attentive to our duty 2 than the endless merits of 
our Master and Parent demanded : nevertheless it is of great 
avail to our obtaining pardon, if we retain the worship and 
knowledge of Him ; if, laying aside low and earthly affairs and 
goods, we meditate upon heavenly and divine things which are 
everlasting. And that we may be able to do this, God must 
be followed by us, God must be adored and loved ; since there 
is in Him the substance 3 of things, the principle 4 of the virtues, 
and the source of all that is good. 

For what is greater in power than God, or more perfect in 
reason, or brighter in clearness ? And since He begat us to 
wisdom, and produced us to righteousness, it is not allowable 
for man to forsake God, who is the giver of intelligence and 
life, and to serve earthly and frail things, or, intent upon seek 
ing temporal goods, to turn aside from innocence and piety. 
Vicious and deadly pleasures do not render a man happy ; nor 
does opulence, which is the inciter of lusts; nor empty am 
bition ; nor frail honours, by which the human soul, being 
ensnared and enslaved to the body, is condemned 5 to eternal 
death : but innocence and righteousness alone, the lawful and 
due reward of which is immortality, which God from the be 
ginning appointed for holy and uncorrupted minds, which keep 
themselves pure and uncontaminated from vices, and from every 
earthly impurity. Of this heavenly and eternal reward they 
cannot be partakers, who have polluted their conscience by 
deeds of violence, frauds, rapine, and deceits ; and who, by 
injuries inflicted upon men, by impious actions, have branded 
themselves 6 with indelible stains. Accordingly it is befitting 
that all who wish deservedly to be called wise, who wish to be 
called men, should despise frail things, should trample upon 
earthly things, and should look down upon base 7 things, that they 
may be able to be united in a most blissful relationship with God. 

Let impiety and discords be removed; let turbulent and 
deadly dissensions be allayed, 8 by which human societies and 

Familia," a household of slaves. 

Officiosa," i.e. familia. s " Materia rerum." 

Ratio virtutum." 6 " Sterna morte damnatur." 



Ineluibiles sibi maculas iirasserunt." 7 " Humilia. 
Sopiantur," i.e. be lulled to sleep. 



48 LACTANTIUS. 

the divine union of the public league are broken in upon, divided, 
and dispersed ; as far as we can, let us aim at being good and 
bounteous : if we have a supply of wealth and resources, let it 
not be devoted to the pleasure of a single person, but bestowed 
on the welfare of many. For pleasure is as shortlived as the 
body to which it does service. But justice and kindness are as 
immortal as the mind and soul, which by good works attain to 
the likeness of God. Let God be consecrated by us, not in 
temples, but in our heart. All things which are made by the 
hand are destructible. 1 Let us cleanse this temple, which is 
defiled not by smoke or dust, but by evil thoughts ; which is 
lighted not by blazing tapers, but by the brightness and light 
of wisdom. And if we believe that God is always present in 
this temple, to whose divinity the secrets of the heart are open, 
we shall so live as always to have Him propitious, and never to 
fear His anger. 

1 " Destmctilia." The word is used by Prudentius. 




ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD, 

OE THE FOKMATION OF MAN. 
A TREATISE ADDRESSED TO HIS PUPIL DEMETRIANUS. 



CFTAP. I. The introduction, and exhortation to Demetrianus. 

]OW disturbed I am, and in the greatest necessities, 
you will be able to judge from this little book which 
I have written to you, Demetrianus, almost in un 
adorned words, as the mediocrity of my talent per 
mitted, that you might know my daily pursuit, and that I might 
not be wanting to you, even now an instructor, but of a more 
honourable subject and of a better system. For if you afforded 
yourself a ready hearer in literature, which did nothing else 
than form the style, how much more teachable ought you to 
be in these true studies, which have reference even to the life ! 
And I now profess to you, that I am hindered by no necessity 
of circumstance or time from composing something by which 
the philosophers of our sect 1 which we uphold may become 
better instructed and more learned for the future, although they 
now have a bad reputation, and are commonly reproved, as 
living otherwise than is befitting for wise men, and as concealing 
their vices under the covering of a name ; whereas they ought 
either to have remedied them, or to have altogether avoided them, 
that they might render the name of wisdom happy and uncor- 
rupted, their life itself agreeing with their precepts. I, however, 
shrink from no labour that I may at once instruct ourselves and 
others. For I am not able to forget myself, and especially at 
that time when it is most necessary for me to remember ; as also 
you do not forget yourself, as I hope and wish. For although 
the necessity of the state may turn you aside from true and 

1 i.e. Christians. 
LACT. VOL. II. D 



50 LACTANTIUS 

just works, yet it is impossible that a mind conscious of recti 
tude should not from time to time look to the heaven. 

I indeed rejoice that all things which are esteemed blessings 
turn out prosperously to you, but only on condition of their 
changing nothing of your state of mind. For I fear lest custom 
and the pleasantness of these subjects should, as usually happens, 
creep by degrees into your mind. Therefore I advise you, 

" And repeating it, will again and again advise you," 1 
not to believe that you have these enjoyments of the earth as 
great or true blessings, since they are not only deceitful be 
cause they are doubtful, but also treacherous because they are 
pleasant. For you know how crafty that wrestler and adversary 
of ours is, and also often violent, as we now see that he is. He 
employs all these things which are able to entice as snares, and 
with such subtilty that they escape the notice of the eyes of 
the mind, so that they cannot be avoided by the foresight of 
man. Therefore it is the highest prudence to advance step by 
step, since he occupies the passes on both sides, and secretly 
places stumbling-blocks for our feet. Accordingly I advise 
you, either to disregard, if you are able according to your 
virtue, your prosperity in which you live, or not to admire it 
greatly. Eemember your true parent, and in what 2 city you 
have given your name, and of what rank you have been. You 
understand assuredly what I say. For I do not charge you with 
pride, of which there is not even a suspicion in your case ; but 
the things which I say are to be referred to the mind, not to 
the body, the whole system of which has been arranged on this 
account, that it may be in subjection to the soul as to a master, 
and may be ruled by its will. For it is in a certain manner an 
earthen vessel in which the soul, that is, the true man himself, 
is contained, and that vessel indeed not made by Prometheus, 
as the poets say, but by that supreme Creator and Artificer of 
the world, God, whose divine providence and most perfect ex 
cellence it is neither possible to comprehend by the perception, 
nor to express in word. 

I will attempt, however, since mention has been made of the 

body and soul, to explain the nature of each, as far as the weakness 

of my understanding sees through ; and I think that this duty 

is especially to be undertaken on this account, because Marcus 

1 Virg. JEn. iii. 436. 2 i.e. have been initiated by baptism. 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 51 

Tullius, a man of remarkable talent, in his fourth book on the 
Republic, when he had attempted to do this, concluded a subject 
of wide extent within narrow limits, lightly selecting the chief 
points. And that there might be no excuse, because he had 
not followed up this subject, he testified that neither inclina 
tion nor attention had been wanting to him. For in his first 
book concerning the Laws, when he was concisely summing up 
the same subject, he thus spoke : " Scipio, as it appears to me, 
has sufficiently expressed this subject in those books which you 
have read." Afterwards, however, in his second book con 
cerning the Nature of the Gods, he endeavoured to follow up 
the same subject more extensively. But since he did not ex 
press it sufficiently even there, I will approach this office, and 
will take upon myself boldly to explain that which a man of the 
greatest eloquence has almost left untouched. Perhaps you may 
blame me for attempting to discuss something in matters of 
obscurity, when you see that there have been men of such rash 
ness who are commonly called philosophers, that they scrutinized 
those things which God willed to be abstruse and hidden, and 
investigated the nature of things in heaven and on earth, which 
are far removed from us, and cannot be examined 1 by the eyes, 
nor touched by the hand, nor perceived by the senses ; and yet 
they so dispute concerning the nature of these things, as to 
wish that the things which they bring forward may appear to 
be proved and known. What reason is there, I pray, why any 
one should think it an invidious thing in us, if we wish to look 
into and contemplate the system of our body, which is not 
altogether obscure, because from the very offices of the limbs, 
and the uses of the several parts, it is permitted us to under 
stand with what great power of providence each part has been 
made? 

CHAP. ii. Of tlie production of the beasts and of man. 

For our Creator and Parent, God, has given to man percep 
tion and reason, that it might be evident from this that we are 
descended from Him, because He Himself is intelligence, He 
Himself is perception and reason. Since He did not give that 
power of reason to the other animals, He provided beforehand 
in what manner their life might be more safe. For He clothed 
1 " Contrectari." 



52 LACTANT1US 

them all with their own natural hair, 1 in order that they might 
more easily be able to endure the severity of frosts and colds. 
Moreover, He has appointed to every kind its own peculiar de 
fence for the repelling of attacks from without ; so that they may 
either oppose the stronger animals with natural weapons, or the 
feebler ones may withdraw themselves from danger by the swift 
ness of their flight, or those which require at once both strength 
and swiftness may protect themselves by craft, or guard them 
selves in hiding-places. And so others of them either poise 
themselves aloft with light plumage, or are supported by hoofs, 
or are furnished with horns ; some have arms in their mouth 
namely, their teeth or hooked talons on their feet ; and none 
of them is destitute of a defence for its own protection. 

But if any fall as a prey to the greater animals, that their 
race might not utterly perish, they have either been banished to 
that region where the greater ones cannot exist, or they have 
received a more abundant fruitfulness in production, that food 
might be supplied from them to the beasts which are nourished 
by blood, and yet their very multitude might survive the 
slaughter inflicted upon them, so as to preserve the race. But 
He made man reason being granted to him, and the power of 
perceiving and speaking being given to him destitute of those 
things which are given to the other animals, because wisdom 
was able to supply those things which the condition of nature 
had denied to him. He made him naked and defenceless, be 
cause he could be armed by his talent, and clothed by his 
reason. But it cannot be expressed how wonderfully the 
absence of those things which are given to the brutes contri 
butes to the beauty of man. For if He had given to man the 
teeth of wild beasts, or horns, or claws, or hoofs, or a tail, or 
hairs of various colour, who cannot perceive how misshapen an 
animal he would be, as the dumb animals, if they were made 
naked and defenceless? For if you take from these the natu 
ral clothing of their body, or those things by which they are 
armed of themselves, they can be neither beautiful nor safe, so 
that they appear wonderfully furnished if you think of utility, 
and wonderfully adorned if you think of appearance : in such 
a wonderful manner is utility combined with beauty. 

But with reference to man, whom He formed an eternal and 
1 " Omnes enim suis ex se pilis." Others resd, " pellibus texit." 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 53 

immortal being, He did not arm him, as the others, without, 
but within ; nor did He place his protection in the body, but in 
the soul : since it would have been superfluous, when He had 
given him that which was of the greatest value, to cover him 
with bodily defences, especially when they hindered the beauty 
of the human body. On which account I am accustomed to 
wonder at the senselessness of the philosophers who follow 
Epicurus, who blame the works of nature, that they may show 
that the world is prepared and governed by no providence ; but 
they ascribe the origin of all things to indivisible and solid 
bodies, from the fortuitous meetings of which they say that all 
things are and were produced. I pass by the things relating 
to the world itself with which they find fault, in which matter 
they are ridiculously mad ; I assume that which belongs to the 
subject of which we are now treating. 

CHAP. ill. Of the condition of the leasts and man. 

They complain that man is born in a more feeble and frail 
condition than that in which the other animals are born : for 
that these, as soon as they are produced from the womb, imme 
diately raise themselves on their feet, and express their joy by 
running to and fro, and are at once fit for enduring the air, 
inasmuch as they have come forth to the light protected by 
natural coverings ; but man, on the contrary, being naked and 
defenceless, is cast forth, and driven, as it were, from a ship 
wreck, to the miseries of this life ; who is neither able to move 
himself from the place where he has been born, 1 nor to seek 
the nourishment of milk, nor to endure the injury of time. 
Therefore they say that Nature is not the mother of the human 
race, but a stepmother, who has dealt so liberally with the dumb 
creation, but has so produced man, that, without resources, and 
without strength, and destitute of all aid, he can do nothing 
else than give tokens 2 of the state of his frailty by wailing and 
lamentations ; " as well he may, whose destiny it is to go through 
in life so many ills." 3 

And when they say these things they are believed to be very 

wise, because every one without consideration is displeased with 

his own condition; but I contend that they are never more 

foolish than when they say these things. For when I consider 

1 " Effusus est." 2 " Ominari." 3 Lucret. v. 228. 



54 LACTANT1US 

the condition of things, I understand that nothing ought to 
have been otherwise than it is not to say could have been 
otherwise, for God is able to do all things : but it must be, that 
that most provident majesty made that which was better and 
more right. 

I should like, therefore, to ask those censurers of the divine 
works, what they think to be wanting in man, on account of 
his bein^ born in a more feeble condition. Do they think that 
men are, on this account, brought up worse I or that they ad 
vance the less to the greatest strength of age ? or that weakness 
is a hindrance to their growth or safety, since reason bestows 1 
the things which are wanting ? But, they say, the bringing 
up of man costs the greatest labours : in truth, the condition of 
the brute creation is better, because all these, when they have 
brought forth their young, have no care except for their own 
food ; from which it is effected that, their teats being spon 
taneously distended, the nourishment of milk is supplied to their 
offspring, and that they seek this nourishment by the compul 
sion of nature, without any trouble on the part of the mothers. 
How is it with birds, which have a different nature ? do they 
not undergo the greatest labours in bringing up their young, so 
that they sometimes appear to have something of human intel 
ligence? For they either build their nests of mud, or con 
struct them with twigs and leaves, and they sit upon the eggs 
without taking food ; and since it has not been given to them 
to nourish their young from their own bodies, they convey to 
them food, and spend whole days in going to and fro in this 
manner ; but by night they defend, cherish, and protect them. 
What more can men do ? unless it be this only, that they do 
not drive away their young when grown up, but retain them 
bound by perpetual relationship and the bond of affection. 
Why should I say that the offspring of birds is much more 
fragile than that of man ? inasmuch as they do not bring forth 
the animal itself from the body of the mother, but that which, 
being warmed by the nourishment and heat of the body of the 
mother, produces the animal ; and this, even when animated by 
breath, being unfledged and tender, is not only without the 
power of flying, but even of walking. Would he not, there 
fore, be most senseless, if any one should think that nature has 
1 " Depeudit." 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 55 

dealt badly with birds, first, because they are twice born, and 
then because they are so weak, that they have to be nourished 
by food sought with labour by their parents ? But they select 
the stronger, and pass by the more feeble animals. 

I ask, therefore, from those who prefer the condition of the 
beasts to their own, what they would choose if God should give 
them the choice : would they prefer the wisdom of man together 
with his weakness, or the strength of the beasts together with 
their nature ? In truth, they are not so much like the beasts 
as not to prefer even a much more fragile condition, provided 
that it be human, to that strength of theirs unattended with 
reason. But, in truth, prudent men neither desire the reason 
of man together with frailty, nor the strength of the dumb 
animals without reason. Therefore it is nothing so repugnant 
or contradictory, 1 that either reason or the condition of nature 
should of necessity prepare each animal. If it is furnished 
with natural protection, reason is superfluous. For what will 
it contrive 1 2 what will it do ? or what will it plan ? or in what 
will it display that light of the intellect, when Nature of its 
own accord grants those things which are able to be the result 
of reason ? But if it be endued with reason, what need will 
there be of defences for the body, when reason once granted is 
able to supply the office of nature ? And this has such power 
for the adorning and protection of man, that nothing greater or 
better can be given by God. Finally, since man is possessed 
of a body which is not great, and of slight strength, and of in 
firm health, nevertheless, since he has received that which is of 
greater value, he is better equipped than the other animals, and 
more adorned. For though he is born frail and feeble, yet he 
is safe from all the dumb animals, and all those which are born 
with greater strength, though they are able to bear patiently the 
inclemency of the sky, yet are unable to be safe from man. Thus 
it comes to pass that reason bestows more on man than nature 
does on the dumb animals ; since, in their case, neither great 
ness of strength nor firmness of body can prevent them from 
being oppressed by us, or from being made subject to our power. 

Can any one, then, when he sees that even elephants, 3 with 

1 " Contrarium." 2 " Excogitabit." 

3 " Boves Lucas." Elephants are said to have been so called, because 
they were first seen by the Romans in Lucania. 



56 LACTANT1US 

their vast bodies and strength, are subservient to man, complain 
respecting God, the Maker of all things, because he has received 
moderate strength, and a small body ; and not estimate accord- 
in o- to their deserts the divine benefits towards himself, which 
is the part of an ungrateful man, or (to speak more truly) of a 
madman? Plato, I believe, that he might refute these ungrate 
ful men, gave thanks to nature that he was born a man. 1 How 
much better and more soundly did he act, who perceived that 
the condition of man was better, than they did who would have 
preferred that they had been born beasts ! For if God should 
happen to change them into those animals whose condition 
they prefer to their own, they would now immediately desire to 
return to their previous state, and would with great outcries 
eagerly demand their former condition, because strength and 
firmness of body are not of such consequence that you should 
be without the office of the tongue ; or the free course of birds 
through the air, that you should be without the hands. For 
the hands are of greater service than the lightness and use of 
the wings ; the tongue is of greater service than the strength 
of the whole body. What madness is it, therefore, to prefer 
those things which, if they were given, you would refuse to 



CHAP. iv. Of the weakness of man. 

They also complain that man is liable to diseases, and to 
untimely death. They are indignant, it appears, that they are 
not born gods. By no means, they say ; but we show from this, 
that man was made with no foresight, which ought to have been 
otherwise. What if I shall show, that this very thing was fore 
seen with great reason, that he might be able to be harassed by 
diseases, and that his life might often be cut short in the midst 
of its course? For, since God had known that the animal 
which He had made, of its own accord passed to death, that it 
might be capable of receiving death itself, which is the dis 
solution of nature, He gave to it frailty, which might find an 
approach for death in order to the dissolution of the animal. 
For if it had been of such strength that disease and sickness 

O 

could not approach it, not even could death, since death is the 

1 Some editions here add : " But what is the nature of this, it does not 
belong to the present subject to consider." 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 57 

consequence of diseases. But how could a premature death 
be absent from him, for whom a mature death had been ap 
pointed? Assuredly they wish that no man should die, unless 
when he has completed his hundredth year. How can they 
maintain their consistency in so great an opposition of circum 
stances? For, in order that no one may be capable of dying 
before a hundred years, something of the strength which is 
immortal must be given to him ; and when this is granted, the 
condition of death must necessarily be excluded. But of what 
kind can that be, which can render a man firm and impreg 
nable against diseases and attacks from without ? For, inas 
much as he is composed of bones, and nerves, and flesh, and 
blood, which of these can be so firm as to repel frailty and 
death ? That man, therefore, may not be liable to dissolution 
before that time which they think ought to have been ap 
pointed for him, of what material will they assign to him a 
body ? All things which can be seen and touched are frail. 
It remains that they seek something from heaven, since there 
is nothing on earth which is not weak. 

Since, therefore, man had to be so formed by God, that he 
should at some time be mortal, the matter itself required that 
he should be made with a frail and earthly body. It is neces 
sary, therefore, that he should at some time receive death, since 
he is possessed of a body ; for every body is liable to dissolution 
and to death. Therefore they are most foolish who complain 
of premature death, since the condition of nature makes a place 
for it. Thus it will follow that he is subject also to diseases ; 
for nature does not admit that infirmity can be absent from that 
body which is at some time to undergo dissolution. But let us 
suppose it to be possible, as they wish, that man is not born 
under those conditions by which he is subject to disease or 
death, unless, having completed the course of his life, he shall 
have arrived at the extremity of old age. They do not, there 
fore, see what would be the consequence if it were so arranged, 
that it would be plainly impossible to die at another time ; but 
if any one can be deprived of nourishment by another, it will 
be possible for him to die. Therefore the case requires that man, 
who cannot die before an appointed day, should have no need of 
the nourishment of food, because it may be taken from him ; 
but if he shall have no need of food, he will now not be a 



58 LACTANTIUS 

man, but will become a god. Therefore, as I have already said, 
they who complain of the frailty of man, make this complaint 
especially, that they were not born immortal and everlasting. 
No one ought to die unless he is old. On this account, in truth, 
he ought to die, because he is not God. But mortality cannot 
be united with immortality : for if a man is mortal in old age, he 
cannot be immortal in youth ; neither is the condition of death 
foreign to him who is at some time about to die ; nor is there 
any immortality to which a limit is appointed. Thus it comes 
to pass, that the exclusion of immortality for ever, and the re 
ception of mortality for a time, place man in such a condition 
that he is at some time mortal. 

Therefore the necessity is in all points suitable, 1 that he 
ought not to have been otherwise than he is, and that it was 
impossible. But they do not see the order of consequences, 
because they have once committed an error in the main point 
itself. For the divine providence having been excluded from 
the affairs of men, it necessarily followed that all things were 
produced of their own accord. Hence they invented the notion 
of those blows and fortuitous meetings together of minute seeds, 
because they did not see the origin of things. And when they 
had thrown themselves into this difficulty, necessity now com 
pelled them to think that souls were born together with bodies, 
and in like manner were extinguished together with bodies ; for 
they had made the assumption, that nothing was made by the 
divine mind. And they were unable to prove this in any other 
way, than by showing that there were some things in which 
the system of providence appeared to be at fault. a Therefore 
they blamed those things in which providence wonderfully ex 
pressed its divinity, as those things which I have related con 
cerning diseases and premature death ; whereas they ought to 
have considered, those things being assumed, what would be the 
necessary consequences (but those things which I have spoken 
are the consequences) if he were not liable to diseases, and did 
not require a dwelling, nor clothing. For why should he fear 
the winds, or rains, or colds, the power of which consists in 
this, that they bring diseases ? For on this account he has 
received wisdom, that he may guard his frailty against things 
that would injure him. The necessary consequence is, that 
1 " Qujulrat," s < Clauclicare." 






02V THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 50 

since lie is liable to diseases for the sake of retaining liis wisdom, 
he must also be liable to death ; because he to whom death docs 
not come, must of necessity be firm. But infirmity has in itself 
the condition of death ; but where there shall be firmness, neither 
can old age have any place, nor death, which follows old age. 

Moreover, if death were appointed for a fixed age, man 
would become most arrogant, and would be destitute of all 
humanity. For almost all the rights of humanity, by which 
we arc united with one another, arise from fear and the con 
sciousness of frailty. In short, all the more feeble and timid 
animals herd together, that, since they are unable to protect 
themselves by strength, they may protect themselves by their 
multitude ; but the stronger animals seek solitudes, since they 
trust in their force and strength. If man also, in the same 
manner, had sufficient strength for the repelling of dangers, 
and did not stand in need of the assistance of any other, 
what society would there be? or what system? what huma 
nity? or what would be more harsh than man? what more 
brutal? what more savage? But since he is feeble, and not 
able to live by himself apart from man, he desires society, 
that his life, passed in intercourse with others, may become 
both more adorned and more safe. You see, therefore, that 
the whole reason of man centres most of all in this, that he 
is born naked and fragile, that he is attacked by diseases, 
that he is punished by premature death. And if these things 
should be taken away from man, reason also, and wisdom, must 
necessarily be taken away. But I am discussing too long re 
specting things which are manifest, since it is clear that nothing 
ever was made, or could have been made, without providence. 
And if I should now wish to discuss respecting all its works in 
order, the subject would be infinite. But I have purposed to 
speak so much concerning the body of man only, that I may 
show in it the power of divine providence, how great it lias 
been in those things only which arc easy of comprehension and 
open ; for those things which relate to the soul can neither be 
subjected to the eyes, nor comprehended. Now we speak con 
cerning the vessel itself of man, which we sec. 

CHAP. v. Of the figures and limbs of animals. 
In the beginning, when God was forming the animals, He did 



60 LACTANTIUS 

not wish to conglobate l and collect them into a round shape, 
that they might be able easily to put themselves in motion for 
walking, anoTto turn themselves in any direction ; but from the 
highest part of the body He lengthened out the head. He also 
carried out to a greater length some of the limbs, which are 
called feet, that, being fixed on the ground with alternate motions, 
they might lead forward the animal wherever his inclination 
had borne him, or the necessity of seeking food had called him. 
Moreover, He made four limbs standing out from the very vessel 
of the body : two behind, which are in all animals the feet ; 
also two close to the head and neck, which supply various uses 
to animals. For in cattle and wild beasts they are feet like the 
hinder ones ; but in man they are hands, which are produced 
not for walking, but for acting and controlling. 2 There is also 
a third class, in which those former limbs are neither feet nor 
hands; but wings, which, having feathers arranged in order, 
supply the use of flying. Thus one formation has different forms 
and uses ; and that He might firmly hold together the density 
itself of the body, by binding together greater and small bones, 
He compacted a kind of keel, which we call the spine ; and He 
did not think fit to form it of one continued bone, lest the animal 
should not have the power of walking and bending itself. From 
its middle part, as it were, He has extended in a different direc 
tion transverse and flat bones, by which, being slightly curved, 
and almost drawn together to themselves as into a circle, the 
inward organs 3 may be covered, that those parts which needed 
to be soft and less strong might be protected by the encircling 
of a solid framework. 4 But at the end of that joining together 
which we have said to resemble the keel of a ship, He placed 
the head, in which might be the government of the whole living 
creature ; and this name was given to it, as indeed Varro writes 
to Cicero, because from this the senses and the nerves take 
their beginning. 

But those parts, which we have said to be lengthened out from 
the body, either for the sake of walking, or of acting, or of 

1 " Conglobare," to gather into a ball. 

2 " Temperandum." Others read " teuendum." 

3 "Viscera." This word includes the heart, lungs, liver, stomach, and 
intestines. 

4 "Gratis," properly " wicker-work." 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 61 

flying, He would have to consist of bones, neither too long, for 
the sake of rapidity of motion, nor too short, for the sake of 
firmness, but of a few, and those large. For either they are 
two as in man, or four as in a quadruped. And these He did not 
make solid, lest in walking sluggishness and weight should 
retard ; but He made them hollow, and full of marrow within, to 
preserve the vigour of the body. And again, He did not make 
them equally extended to the end ; but He conglobated their ex 
tremities with coarse knots, that they might be able more easily 
to be bound with sinews, and to be turned more easily, from 
which they are called joints. 1 These knots He made firmly 
solid, and covered with a soft kind of covering, which is called 
cartilage; for this purpose, that they might be bent without 
galling or any sense of pain. He did not, however, form these 
after one fashion. For He made some simple and round into 
an orb, in those joints at least in which it was befitting that 
the limbs should move in all directions, as in the shoulders, 
since it is necessary that the hands should move and be twisted 
about in any direction ; but others He made broad, and equal, 
and round towards one part, and that plainly in those places 
where only it was necessary for the limbs to be bent, as in the 
knees, and in the elbows, and in the hands themselves. For as 
it was at the same time pleasant to the sight, and useful, that 
the hands should move in every direction from that position 
from which they spring ; so assuredly, if this same thing should 
happen to the elbows, a motion of that kind would be at once 
superfluous and unbecoming. For then the hand, having lost 
the dignity which it now has, through its excessive flexibility, 2 
would appear like the trunk of an elephant ; and man would be 
altogether snake-handed, 3 an instance of which has been won 
derfully effected in that monstrous beast. For God, who wished 
to display His providence and power by a wonderful variety of 
many things, inasmuch as He had not extended the head of that 
animal to such a length that he might be able to touch the earth 
with his mouth, which would have been horrible and hideous, 
and because He had so armed the mouth itself with extended 
tusks, that even if he touched the earth the tusks would still 
deprive him. of the power of feeding, He lengthened out be- 

1 " Vertibula." 2 " Mobilitas." 

3 " Anguimanus," a word applied by Lucretius to the elephant. 



6 2 LACTANTIUS 

tween these from the top of the forehead a soft and flexible 
limb, by which he might be able to grasp and lay hold of 
anything, lest the prominent magnitude of the tusks, or the 
shortness of the neck, should interfere with the arrangement 
for taking food. 

CHAP. VI. Of the error of Epicurus, and of the limbs and 
their use. 

I cannot here be prevented from again showing the folly of 
Epicurus. For all the ravings of Lucretius belong to him, 
who, in order that he might show that animals are not produced 
by any contrivance of the divine mind, but, as he is wont to 
say, by chance, said that in the beginning of the world innumer 
able other animals of wonderful form and magnitude were pro 
duced ; but that they were unable to be permanent, because 
either the power of taking food, or the method of uniting and 
generating, had failed them. It is evident that, in order to 
make a place for his atoms flying about through the boundless 
and empty space, he wished to exclude the divine providence. 
But when he saw that a wonderful system of providence is 
contained in all things which breathe, what vanity was it (O 
mischievous one !) to say that there had been animals of im 
mense size, in which the system of production ceased ! 

Since, therefore, all things which we see are produced with 
reference to apian for nothing but a plan 1 can effect this very 
condition of being born it is manifest that nothing could have 
been born without a plan. For it was previously foreseen in the 
formation of everything, how it should use the service of the 
limbs for the necessaries of life ; and how the offspring, being 
produced from the union of bodies, might preserve all living 
creatures by their several species. For if a skilful architect, 
when he designs to construct some great building, first of all con 
siders what will be the effect 2 of the complete building, and pre 
viously ascertains by measurement what situation is suitable for 
a light weight, in what place a massive part of the structure will 
stand, what will be the intervals between the columns, what or 
where will be the descents and outlets of the falling waters and 
the reservoirs, he first, I say, foresees these things, that he 

" Eatio." Nearly equivalent in this place to " providentia." 
2 " Summa." 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 63 

may begin together with the very foundations whatever things 
are necessary for the work when now completed, why should 
any one suppose that, in the contrivance of animals, God did not 
foresee what things were necessary for living, before giving life 
itself ? For it is manifest that life could not exist, unless those 
things by which it exists were previously arranged. 

Therefore Epicurus saw in the bodies of animals the skill of 
a divine plan ; but that he might carry into effect that which 
he had before imprudently assumed, he added another absurdity 
agreeing with the former. For he said that the eyes were not 
produced for seeing, nor the ears for hearing, nor the feet for 
walking, since these members were produced before there was 
the exercise of seeing, hearing, and walking ; but that all the 
offices of these members arose from them after their production. 
I fear lest the refutation of such extravagant and ridiculous 
stories should appear to be no less foolish ; but it pleases me 
to be foolish, since we are dealing with a foolish man, lest he 
should think himself too clever. What do you say, Epicurus I 
Were not the eyes produced for seeing? Why, then, do they 
see ? Their use, he says, afterwards showed itself. Therefore 
they were produced for the sake of seeing, since they can do 
nothing else but see. Likewise, in the case of the other limbs, 
use itself shows for what purpose they were produced. For 
it is plain that this use could have no existence, unless all the 
limbs had been made with such arrangement and foresight, 
that they might be able to have their use. 

For what if you should say, that birds were not made to fly, 
nor wild beasts to rage, nor fishes to swim, nor men to be wise, 
when it is evident that living creatures are subject to that 
natural disposition and office to which each was created f But 
it is evident that he who has lost the main point itself of the 
truth must always be in error. For if all things are produced 
not by providence, but by a fortuitous meeting together of 
atoms, why does it never happen by chance, that those first 
principles meet together in such a way as to make an animal 
of such a kind, that it might rather hear with its nostrils, smell 
with its eyes, and see 1 with its ears ? For if the first prin 
ciples leave no kind of position untried, monstrous produc 
tions of this kind ought daily to have been brought forth, in 
1 " Cerneret," to see so as to distinguish ; a stronger word than " video." 



64 LACTANTIUS 

which the arrangement of the limbs might be distorted, 1 and 
the use far different from that which prevails. But since all 
the races of animals, and all the limbs, observe their own laws 
and arrangements, and the uses assigned to them, it is plain 
that nothing is made by chance, since a perpetual arrangement 
of the divine plan is preserved. But we will refute Epicurus 
at another time. Now let us discuss the subject of providence, 
as we have begun. 

CHAT*, vn. Of all the parts of the body. 

God therefore connected and bound together the parts which 

strengthen 2 the body, which we call bones, being knotted and 

joined to one another by sinews, which the mind might make 

use of, as bands, 3 if it should wish to hasten forward or to lag 

behind ; and, indeed, without any labour or effort, but with a 

very slight inclination, it might moderate and guide the mass 

of the whole body. But He covered these with the inward 

organs, 4 as was befitting to each place, that the parts which 

were solid might be enclosed and concealed. Also He mixed 

with the inward organs, veins as streams divided through the 

whole body, through which the moisture and the blood, running 

in different directions, might bedew all the limbs with the vital 

juices ; and He fashioned these inward organs after that manner 

which was befitting to each kind and situation, and covered 

them with skin drawn over them, which He either adorned 

with beauty only, or covered with thick hair, or fenced with 

scales, or adorned with brilliant feathers. But that is a 

wonderful contrivance of God, that one arrangement and one 

state exhibits innumerable varieties of animals. For in almost 

all things which breathe there is the same connection and 

arrangement of the limbs. For first of all is the head, and 

annexed to this the neck ; also the breast adjoined to the neck, 

and the shoulders projecting from it, the belly adhering to the 

breast ; also the organs of generation subjoined to the belly ; in 

the last place, the thighs and feet. Nor do the limbs only keep 

their own course and position in all, but also the parts of the 

limbs. For in the head itself alone the ears occupy a fixed 

position, the eyes a fixed position, likewise the nostrils, the 

" Prseposterus ; " having the last first, and the first last. 
2 " Solidamenta corppris." 3 " Ketinaculis." * " Visceribus." 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 65 

mouth also, and in it the teeth and tongue. And though all 
these things are the same in all animals, yet there is an infinite 
and manifold diversity of the things formed ; because those 
things of which I have spoken, being either more drawn out 
or more contracted, are comprehended by lineaments differing 
in various ways. What ! is not that divine, that in so great a 
multitude of living creatures each animal is most excellent in its 
own class and species 1 so that if any part should be taken from 
one to another, the necessary result would be, that nothing would 
be more embarrassed for use, nothing more unshapely to look 
upon ; as if you should give a prolonged neck to an elephant, or 
a short neck to a camel ; or if you should attach feet or hair to 
serpents, in which the length of the body equally stretched out 
required nothing else, except that being marked as to their backs 
with spots, and supporting themselves by their smooth scales, 
with winding courses they should glide into slippery tracts. But 
in quadrupeds the same designer lengthened out the arrange 
ment of the spine, which is drawn out from the top of the head 
to a greater length on the outside of the body, and pointed it 
into a tail, that the parts of the body which are offensive might 
either be covered on account of their unsightliness, or be pro 
tected on account of their tenderness, so that by its motion 
certain minute and injurious animals might be driven away 
from the body ; and if you should take away this member, the 
animal would be imperfect and weak. But where there is rea 
son and the hand, that is not so necessary as a covering of hair. 
To such an extent are all things most befittingly arranged, 
each in its own class, that nothing can be conceived more un 
becoming than a quadruped which is naked, or a man that is 
covered. 

But, however, though nakedness itself on the part of man 
tends in a wonderful manner to beauty, yet it was not adapted 
to his head ; for what great deformity there would be in this, is 
evident from baldness. Therefore He clothed the head with 
hair ; and because it was about to be on the top, He added it as 
an ornament, as it were, to the highest summit of the building. 
And this ornament is not collected into a circle, or rounded 
into the figure of a cap, lest it should be unsightly by leaving 
some parts bare ; but it is freely poured forth in some places, 
and withdrawn in others, according to the comeliness of each 

LACT. VOL. II. E 



66 LACTANTIUS 

place. Therefore, the forehead entrenched by a circumference, 
and the hair put forth from the temples before the ears, and 
the uppermost parts of these being surrounded after the manner 
of a crown, and all the back part of the head covered, display 
an appearance of wonderful comeliness. Then the nature of 
the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the 
maturity of bodies, or to the distinction of sex, or to the beauty 
of manliness and strength ; so that it appears that the system 
of the whole work would not have been in agreement, if any 
thing had been made otherwise than it is. 

CHAP. vili. Of the parts of man : the eyes and ears. 

Now I will show the plan of the whole man, and will explain 
the uses and habits of the several members which are exposed 
to view in the body, or concealed. When, therefore, God had 
determined of all the animals to make man alone heavenly, and 
all the rest earthly, He raised him erect 1 to the contemplation 
of the heaven, and made him a biped, doubtless that he might 
look to the same quarter from which he derives his origin ; but 
He depressed the others to the earth, that, inasmuch as they 
have no expectation of immortality, being cast down with their 
whole body to the ground, they might be subservient to their 
appetite and food. And thus the right reason and elevated 
position of man alone, and his countenance, shared with and 
closely resembling God his Father, bespeak his origin and 
Maker. His mind, nearly divine, because it has obtained the 
rule not only over the animals which are on the earth, but 
even over^his own body, being situated in the highest part, the 
head, as in a lofty citadel, looks out upon and observes all 
things. He formed this its palace, not drawn out and extended, 
as in the case of the dumb animals, but like an orb and a globe, 
because all 2 roundness belongs to a perfect plan and figure. 
Therefore the mind and that divine fire is covered with it, 3 as 
with a vault ; 4 and when He had covered its highest top with 
a natural garment, He alike furnished and adorned the front 
part, which is called the face, with the necessary services of the 
members. 

1 " Rigidum." s Onmis." Others read " orbis " 

3 i.e. the head. 

" Coelo." Some believed that the soul was of fire. 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 67 

And first, He closed the orbs of the eyes with concave aper 
tures, from which boring 1 Varro thought that the forehead 2 
derived its name ; and He would have these to be neither less 
nor more than two, because no number is more perfect as to 
appearance than that of two : as also He made the ears two, 
the doubleness 3 of which bears with it an incredible degree of 
beauty, both because each part is adorned with a resemblance, 
and that voices coming from both sides* may more easily be 
collected. For the form itself is fashioned after a wonderful 
manner : because He would not have their apertures to be naked 
and uncovered, which would have been less becoming and less 
useful ; since the voice might fly beyond the narrow space of 
simple caverns, and be scattered, did not the apertures them 
selves confine it, received through hollow windings and kept 
back from reverberation, like those small vessels, by the appli 
cation of which narrow-mouthed vessels are accustomed to be 
filled. 

These ears, then, which have their name from the drinking 5 
in of voices, from which Virgil says, 6 

" And with these ears I drank in Ms voice ;" 

or because the Greeks call the voice itself avbrjv, from hearing, 
the ears (aures) were named as though audes by the change 
of a letter, God would not form of soft skins, which, hanging 
down and flaccid, might take away beauty; nor of hard and 
solid bones, lest, being stiff and immoveable, they should be 
inconvenient for use. But He designed that which might be 
between these, that a softer cartilage might bind them, and that 
they might have at once a befitting and flexible firmness. In 
these the oifice of hearing only is placed, as that of seeing is in 
the eyes, the acuteness of which is especially inexplicable and 
wonderful ; for He covered their orbs, presenting the similitude 
of gems in that part with which they had to see, with transparent 
membranes, that the images of objects placed opposite them, 
being refracted 7 as in a mirror, might penetrate to the inner 
most perception. Through these membranes, therefore, that 
faculty which is called the mind sees those things which are 

1 " Foratu," the process of boring ; " foramen," the aperture thus made. 

2 " Frontem." 3 " Duplicitas." 4 " Altrinsecus." 

5 " Hauriendis," from which " aures " is said to be formed. 

6 Mndd, iv. 359. 7 " Refulgentes." 



68 LACTANT1US 

without ; lest you should happen to think that we see either 
by the striking 1 of the images, as the philosophers discuss, since 
the office of seeing ought to be in that which sees, not in that 
which is seen ; or in the tension of the air together with the 
eyesight ; or in the outpouring of the rays : since, if it were so, 
we should see the ray towards which we turn with our eyes, 
until the air, being extended together with the eyesight, or the 
rays being poured out, should arrive at the object which was to 
be seen. 

But since we see at the same moment of time, and for the most 
part, while engaged on other business, we nevertheless behold 
all things which are placed opposite to us, it is more true and 
evident that it is the mind which, through the eyes, sees those 
things which are placed opposite to it, as though through win 
dows covered with pellucid crystal or transparent stone; 2 and 
therefore the mind and inclination are often known from the 
eyes. For the refutation of which Lucretius 3 employed a very 
senseless argument. For if the mind, he says, sees through 
the eyes, it would see better if the eyes were torn out and dug 
up, inasmuch as doors being torn up together with the door 
posts let in more light than if they were covered. Truly his 
eyes, or rather those of Epicurus who taught him, ought to 
have been dug out, that they might not see, that the torn-out 
orbs, and the burst fibres of the eyes, and the blood flowing 
through the veins, and the flesh increasing from wounds, and 
the scars drawn over at last can admit no light; unless by 
chance he would have it that eyes are produced resembling 
ears, so that we should see not so much with eyes as with aper 
tures, than which there can be nothing more unsightly or more 
useless. For how little should we be able to see, if from the 
innermost recesses of the head the mind should pay attention 
through slight fissures of caverns ; as, if any one should wish to 
look through a stalk of hemlock, he would see no more than 
the capability of the stalk itself admitted ! For sight, therefore, 
it was rather needful that the members should be collected 
together into an orb, that the sight might be spread in breadth 
and the parts which adjoined them in the front of the face, 
that they might freely behold all things. Therefore the un- 



" Imaginum incursione." 2 According to some, " talc. 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 69 

speakable power of the divine providence made two orbs most re 
sembling each other, and so bound them together that they might 
be able not only to be altogether turned, but to be moved and 
directed with moderation. 1 And He willed that the orbs them 
selves should be full of a pure and clear moisture, in the middle 
part of which sparks of lights might be kept shut up, which we 
call the pupils, in which, being pure and delicate, are contained 
the faculty and method of seeing. The mind therefore directs 
itself through these orbs that it may see, and the sight of both 
the eyes is mingled and joined together in a wonderful manner. 

CHAP. ix. Of the senses and their power. 

It pleases me in this place to censure the folly of those 
who, while they wish to show that the senses are false, collect 
many instances in which the eyes are deceived ; and among 
them this also, that all things appear double to the mad and 
intoxicated, as though the cause of that error were obscure. 
For it happens on this account, because there are two eyes. 
But hear how it happens. The sight of the eyes consists in 
the exertion of the soul. Therefore, since the mind, as has 
been above said, uses the eyes as windows, this happens not 
only to those who are intoxicated or mad, but even to those 
who are of sound mind, and sober. For if you place any object 
too near, it will appear double, for there is a certain interval and 
space in which the sight of the eyes meets together. Likewise, 
if you call the soul back as if to reflection, and relax the exer 
tion of the mind, then the sight of each eye is drawn asunder, 
and they each begin to see separately. 

If you, again, exert the mind and direct the eyesight, what 
ever appeared double unites into one. What wonder, therefore, 
if the mind, impaired by poison and the powerful influence of 
wine, cannot direct itself to seeing, as the feet cannot to walk 
ing when they are weak through the numbness of the sinews, 
or if the force of madness raging against the brain disunites the 
agreement of the eyes ? which is so true, that in the case of 
one-eyed 2 men, if they become either mad or intoxicated, it can 
by no means happen that they see any object double. Where 
fore, if the reason is evident why the eyes are deceived, it is 
clear that the senses are not false : for they either are not de- 
1 " Cum modo," in a measured degree. 2 " Luscis." 



i u 




70 LACTANTIUS 

ceived if they are pure and sound ; or if they are deceived, yet 
the mind is not deceived which recognises their error. 

CHAP. x. Of the outer limits of man, and their use. 

But let us return to the works of God. That the eyes, there 
fore, might be better protected from injury, He concealed them 
with the coverings of the eyelashes, 1 from which Varro thinks 
that the eyes 2 derived their name. For even the eyelids them 
selves, in which there is the power of rapid motion, and to 
which throbbing 3 gives their name, being protected by hairs 
standing in order, afford a most becoming fence to the eyes ; 
the continual motion of which, meeting with incomprehensible 
rapidity, does not impede the course of the sight, and relieves 
the eyes. 4 For the pupil that is, the transparent membrane 
which ought not to be drained and to become dry, unless it is 
cleansed by continual moisture so that it shines clearly, loses 
its power. 5 Why should I speak of the summits of the eye 
brows themselves, furnished with short hair ? Do they not, as 
it were by mounds, both afford protection to the eyes, so that 
nothing may fall into them from above, and at the same time 
ornament 1 And the nose, arising from the confines of these, 
and stretched out, as it were, with an equal ridge, at once 
serves to separate and to protect the two eyes. Below also, a 
not unbecoming swelling of the cheeks, gently rising after the 
similitude of hills, makes the eyes safer on every side ; and it 
has been provided by the great Artificer, that if there shall 
happen to be a more violent blow, it may be repelled by the 
projecting parts. But the upper part of the nose as far as the 
middle has been made solid ; but the lower part has been made 
with a softened cartilage annexed to it, that it may be pliant 6 
to the use of the fingers. Moreover, in this, though a single 
member, three offices are placed : one, that of drawing the 
breath; the second, that of smelling; the third, that the secre 
tions of the brain may escape through its caverns. And in how 
wonderful, how divine a manner did God contrive these also, so 

1 "Ciliorum." The word properly denotes the edge of the eyelid, in 
which the eyelash is fixed ; said to be derived from cilleo," to move. 
Ucuh," as though derived from " occulere," to conceal 
Palpitatio." Hence "palpebr*," the eyelids. 
Eeficit obtutum." 5 Qbsolescit." Tractabilis." 



ffUBRARY 



0^ THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 71 

that the very cavity of the nose should not deform the beauty 
of the face ! which would certainly have been the case if one 
single aperture only were open. But He enclosed and divided 
that, as though by a wall drawn through the middle, and made 
it most beautiful by the very circumstance of its being double. 1 
From, which we understand of how much weight the twofold 
number, made firm by one simple connection, is to the perfec 
tion of things. 

For though the body is one, yet the whole could not be made 
up of single members, unless it were that there should be parts 
on the right hand or on the left. Therefore, as the two feet 
and also hands not only avail to some utility and practice either 
of walking or of doing something, but also bestow an admirable 
character and comeliness ; so in the head, which is, as it were, 
the crown of the divine work, the hearing has been divided by 
the great Artificer into two ears, and the sight into two eyes, 
and the smelling into two nostrils, because the brain, in which 
is contained the system of the sensation, although it is one, yet 
is divided into two parts by the intervening membrane. But 
the heart also, which appears to be the abode of wisdom, although 
it is one, yet has two recesses within, in which are contained 
the living fountains of blood, divided by an intervening barrier: 
that as in the world itself the chief control, being twofold from 
simple matter, or simple from a twofold matter, governs and 
keeps together the whole ; so in the body, all the parts, being 
constructed of two, might present an inseparable unity. Also 
how useful and how becoming is the appearance and the open 
ing of the mouth transversely cannot be expressed ; the use of 
which consists in two offices, that of taking food and speaking. 

The tongue enclosed within, which by its motions divides 
the voice into words, and is the interpreter of the mind, can 
not, however, by itself alone fulfil the office of speaking, unless 
it strikes its edge against the palate, unless aided by striking 
against the teeth or by the compression of the lips. The teeth, 
however, contribute more to speaking : for infants do not begin 
to speak before they have teeth ; and old men, when they have 
lost their teeth, so lisp that they appear to have returned afresh 
to infancy. But these things relate to man alone, or to birds, 
in which the tongue, being pointed and vibrating with fixed 
1 " Ipsa duplicitate." 



72 LACTANTIUS 

motions, expresses innumerable inflexions of songs and various 
kinds of sounds. It has, moreover, another office also, which it 
exercises in all, and this alone in the dumb animals, that it collects 
the food when bruised and ground by the teeth, and by its force 
presses it down when collected into balls, and transmits it to the 
belly. Accordingly, Varro thinks that the name of tongue was 
given to it from binding 1 the food. It also assists the beasts in 
drinking : for with the tongue stretched out and hollowed they 
draw water ; and when they have taken it in the hollow 2 of the 
tongue, lest by slowness and delay it should flow away, they 
dash 3 it against the palate with swift rapidity. This, there 
fore, is covered by the concave part of the palate as by a shell, 4 
and God has surrounded it with the enclosure of the teeth as 
with a wall. 

But He has adorned the teeth themselves, which are ar 
ranged in order in a wonderful manner, lest, being bare and 
exposed, 5 they should be a terror rather than an ornament, with 
soft gums, which are so named from producing teeth, and then 
with the coverings of the lips ; and the hardness of the teeth, 
as in a millstone, is greater and rougher than in the other 
bones, that they might be sufficient for bruising the food and 
pasture. But how befittingly has He divided 6 the lips them 
selves, which as it were before were united ! the upper of 
which, under the very middle of the nostrils, He has marked 
with a kind of slight cavity, as with a valley : He has grace 
fully spread out 7 the lower for the sake of beauty. For, as far 
as relates to the receiving of flavour, he is deceived, whoever he 
is, who thinks that this sense resides in the palate ; for it is the 
tongue by which flavours are perceived, and not the whole of 
it : for the parts of it which are more tender on either side, draw 
in the flavour with the most delicate perceptions. And though 
nothing is diminished from that which is eaten or drunk, yet 
the flavour, in an indescribable manner penetrates to the sense, 
in the same way in which the taking of the smell detracts nothing 
from any material. 

And how beautiful the other parts are can scarcely be ex 
pressed. The chin, gently drawn down from the cheeks, arid 

1 " Lingua," as though from " ligando." 2 " Linguae sinu." 

" Complodunt." 4 " Testudine." 5 " Restrict!." 

6 " Intercidit." * " Foras molliter explicavit." 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 73 

the lower part of it so closed that the lightly imprinted division 
appears to mark its extreme point : the neck stiff and well 
rounded: the shoulders let down as though by gentle ridges 
from the neck : the fore-arms * powerful, and braced 2 by sinews 
for firmness : the great strength of the upper-arms 3 standing 
out with remarkable muscles : the useful and becoming bending 
of the elbows. What shall I say of the hands, the ministers of 
reason and wisdom ? which the most skilful Creator made with 
a flat and moderately concave bend, that if anything was to be 
held, it might conveniently rest upon them, and terminated 
them in the fingers ; in which it is difficult to explain whether 
the appearance or the usefulness is greater. For the perfection 
and completeness of their number, and the comeliness of their 
order and gradation, and the flexible bending of the equal joints, 
and the round form of the nails, comprising and strengthening 
the tips of the fingers with concave coverings, lest the softness of 
the flesh should yield in holding any object, afford great adorn 
ment. But this is convenient for use in wonderful ways, that 
one separated from the rest rises together with the hand itself, 
and is enlarged 4 in a different direction, which, offering itself as 
though to meet the others, possesses all the power of holding 
and doing either alone, or in a special manner, as the guide and 
director of them all ; from which also it received the name of 
thumb, 5 because it prevails among the others by force and 
power. It has two joints standing out, not as the others, three ; 
but one is annexed by flesh to the hand for the sake of beauty : 
for if it had been with three joints, and itself separate, the foul 
and unbecoming appearance would have deprived the hand of 
all grace. 

Again, the breadth of the breast, being elevated, and exposed 
to the eyes, displays a wonderful dignity of its condition ; of 
which this is the cause, that God appears to have made man 
only, as it were, reclining with his face upward : for scarcely 
any other animal is able to lie upon its back. But He appears 
to have formed the dumb animals as though lying on one side, 

1 " Brachia." The fore-arms, from the hand to the elbow. 

2 " Substricta." 

3 a Lacerti." The arm from the elbow to the shoulder. 

4 " Maturius funditur." 

5 i.e. " pollex," as though from "polleo," to prevail. 



74 LACTANTIUS 

and to have pressed them to the earth. For this reason He 
gave them a narrow breast, and removed from sight, and pros 
trate 1 towards the earth. But He made that of man open and 
erect, because, being full of reason given from heaven, it was 
not befitting that it should be humble or unbecoming. The 
nipples also gently rising, and crowned with darker and small 
orbs, add something of beauty ; being given to females for the 
nourishment of their young, to males for grace only, that the 
breast might not appear misshapen, and, as it were, mutilated. 
Below this is placed the flat surface of the belly, about the 
middle of which the navel distinguishes by a not unbecoming 
mark, being made for this purpose, that through it the young, 
while it is in the womb, may be nourished. 

CHAP. xi. Of the intestines in man, and their use. 

It necessarily follows that I should begin to speak of the in 
ward parts also, to which has been assigned not beauty, because 
they are concealed from view, but incredible utility, since it 
was necessary that this earthly body should be nourished with 
some moisture from food and drink, as the earth itself is by 
showers and frosts. The most provident Artificer placed in the 
middle of it a receptacle for articles of food, by means of 
which, when digested and liquefied, it might distribute the vital 
juices to all the members. But since man is composed of body 
and soul, that receptacle of which I have spoken above affords 
nourishment only to the body ; to the soul, in truth, He has 
given another abode. For He has made a kind of intestines 
soft and thin, 2 which we call the lungs, into which the breath 
might pass by an alternate interchange; 3 and He did not form 
this after the fashion of the uterus, lest the breath should all at 
once be poured forth, or at once inflate it. And on this account 
He did not make it a full intestine, 4 but capable of being in 
flated, and admitting the air, so that it might gradually receive 
the breath ; while the vital air is spread through that thinness, 
and might again gradually give it back, while it spreads itself 

I Abjectum." Karum," i.e. loose in texture. 

Iteciproca vicissitudine." 

Ne plenum quidem." Some editions omit " ne," but it seems to be 
required by the sense ; the lungs not being compact and solid, as the liver, 
but of a slighter substance. 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 75 

forth from it : for the very alternation of blowing and breathing, 1 
and the process of respiration, support life in the body. 

Since, therefore, there are in man two receptacles, one of 
the air which nourishes the soul, 2 the other of the food which 
nourishes the body, there must be two tubes 3 through the 
neck for food, and for breath, the upper of which leads from 
the mouth to the belly, the lower from the nostrils to the lungs. 
And the plan and nature of these are different : for the passage 
which is from the mouth has been made soft, and which when 
closed always adheres 4 to itself, as the mouth itself ; since drink 
and food, being corporeal, make for themselves a space for 
passage, by moving aside and opening the gullet. The breath, 
on the other hand, which is incorporeal and thin, because it was 
unable to make for itself a space, has received an open way, 
which is called the windpipe. This is composed of flexible 
and soft bones, as though of rings fitted together after the 
manner of a hemlock stalk, 5 and adhering together ; and this 
passage is always open. For the breath can have no cessation 
in passing ; because it, which is always passing to and fro, is 
checked as by a kind of obstacle through means of a portion of a 
member usefully sent down from the brain, and which is called 
the uvula, lest, drawn by pestilential air, it should come with 
impetuosity and spoil the slightness 6 of its abode, or bring the 
whole violence of the injury upon the inner receptacles. And 
on this account also the nostrils are slightly open, which are 
therefore so named, because either smell or breath does not 
cease to flow 7 through these, which are, as it were, the doors of 
this tube. Yet this breathing-tube lies open 8 not only to the 
nostrils, but also to the mouth in the extreme regions of the 
palate, where the risings of 9 the jaws, looking towards the uvula, 
begin to raise themselves into a swelling. And the reason of 
this arrangement is not obscure : for we should not have the 
power of speaking if the windpipe were open to the nostrils 

1 " Flandi et spirandi." The former word denotes the process of sending 
forth, the latter of inhaling, the air. 

2 Animam," the vital principle, as differing from the rational. 

3 Fistulas." 4 " Cohsereat sibi." 

5 In cicutse modum." 6 " Teneritndinem domicilii." 

7 Nare ;" hence " nares," the nostrils. 8 " Interpatet." 
9 Colles faucium." Others read " toles," i.e. the tonsils. 



76 LACTANTIUS 

only, as the path of the gullet is to the mouth only ; nor could 
the breath proceeding from it cause the voice, without the service 
of the tongue. 

Therefore the divine skill opened a way for the voice from 
that breathing-tube, so that the tongue might be able to dis 
charge its office, and by its strokes divide into words the even 1 
course of the voice itself. And this passage, if by any means 
it is intercepted, must necessarily cause dumbness. For he is 
assuredly mistaken, whoever thinks that there is any other cause 
why men are dumb. For they are not tongue-tied, as is com 
monly believed ; but they pour forth that vocal breath through 
the nostrils, as though bellowing, 2 because there is either no 
passage at all for the voice to the mouth, or it is not so open as 
to be able to send forth the full voice. And this generally 
comes to pass by nature ; sometimes also it happens by accident 
that this entrance is blocked up and does not transmit the voice 
to the tongue, and thus makes those who can speak dumb. 
And when this happens, the hearing also must necessarily be 
blocked up ; so that because it cannot emit the voice, it is also 
incapable of admitting it. Therefore this passage has been 
opened for the purpose of speaking. It also affords this advan 
tage, that in frequenting the bath, 3 because the nostrils are not 
able to endure the heat, the hot air is taken in by the mouth ; 
also, if phlegm contracted by cold shall have happened to stop 
up the breathing pores of the nostrils, we may be able to draw 
the air through the mouth, lest, if the passage 4 should be ob 
structed, the breath should be stifled. But the food being 
received into the stomach, and mixed with the moisture of the 
drink, when it has now been digested by the heat, its juice, 
being in an indescribable manner diffused through the limbs, 
bedews and invigorates the whole body. 

The manifold coils also of the intestines, and their length 
rolled together on themselves, and yet fastened with one band, 
are a wonderful work of God. For when the stomach has sent 
forth from itself the food softened, it is gradually thrust forth 
through those windings of the intestines, so that whatever of 

" Inoffensum tenorem," i.e. v/itliout obstruction, not striking against 
any object smooth. 

k Quasi mugiens." s u In i avacris ce l e brandis." 

4 " Obstructa meandi facilitate." 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 77 

the moisture by which the body is nourished is in them, is 
divided to all the members. And yet, lest in any place it 
should happen to adhere and remain fixed, which might have 
taken place on account of the turnings of the coils, 1 which often 
turn back to themselves, and which could not have happened 
without injury, He has spread over 2 these from within a thicker 
juice, that the secretions of the belly might more easily work 
their way through the slippery substance to their outlets. It 
is also a most skilful arrangement, that the bladder, which birds 
do not use, though it is separated from the intestines, and has 
no tube by which it may draw the urine from them, is never 
theless filled and distended with moisture. And it is not diffi 
cult to see how this comes to pass. For the parts of the 
intestines which receive the food and drink from the belly are 
more open than the other coils, and much more delicate. These 
entwine themselves around and encompass the bladder ; and 
when the meat and the drink have arrived at these parts in a 
mixed state, the excrement becomes more solid, and passes 
through, but all the moisture is strained through those tender 
parts, 3 and the bladder, the membrane of which is equally fine 
and delicate, absorbs and collects it, so as to send it forth where 
nature has opened an outlet. 

CHAP. xn. De utero, et conceptione atque sexibus. 4 

De utero quoque et conceptione, quoniam de internis loquimur, 
dici necesse est, ne quid praeterisse videamur ; quse quamquam 
in operto latent, sensum tamen atque intelligentiam latere non 
possunt. Vena in maribus, quge seminium continet, duplex est, 
paulo interior, quam illud humoris obscoeni receptaculum. Sicut 
enim renes duo sunt, itemque testes, ita et vense seminales duse, 
in una tamen compage cohserentes ; quod videmus in corporibus 
animalium, cum interfecta 5 patefiunt. Sed ilia dexterior mas- 
culinum continet semen, sinisterior foemininum ; et omnino in 
toto corpore pars dextra masculina est, sinistra vero fceminina. 
Ipsum semen quidam putant ex medullis tantum, quidam ex 

1 " Voluminum flexiones." 2 " Oblevit ea intrinsecus crassiore succo." 

3 " Per illam teneritudinem." 

4 It has been judged advisable not to translate this and the first part of 
the next chapter. 

6 Alii legunt " intersecta." 



7 3 LACTANT1US 

omni corpore ad venam genitalem confluere, ibique concrescere. 
Sed hoc, humana mens, quomodo fiat, non potest comprehendere. 
Item in f oeminis uterus in duas se dividit partes, quse in diversum 
diffusse ac reflexse, circumplicantur, sicut arietis cornua. Quse 
pars in dextram retorquetur, masculina est ; quae in sinistram, 
foeminina. 

Conceptum igitur Varro et Aristoteles sic fieri arbitrantur. 
Aiunt non tantum maribus inesse semen, verum etiam foeminis, 
et inde plerumque matribus similes procreari ; sed earum semen 
sanguinem esse purgatum, quod si recte cum virili mixtum sit, 
utraque concreta et simul coagulata informari: et primum 
quidem cor liominis effingi, quod in eo sit et vita omnis et 
sapientia ; denique totum opus quadragesimo die consummari. 
Ex abortionibus liec fortasse collecta sunt. In avium tarn en 
foetibus primum oculos fingi dubium non est, quod in ovis ssepo 
deprehendimus. Unde fieri non posse arbitr or, quin fictio a 
capite sumat exordium. 

Similitudines autem in corporibus filiorum sic fieri putant. 
Cum semina inter se permixta coalescunt, si virile superaverit, 
patri similem provenire, seu marem, seu foeminam ; si muliebre 
praBvaluerit, progeniem cujusque sexus ad imaginem respondere 
maternam. Id autem pra3valet e duobus, quod fuerit uberius ; 
alterum enim quodammodo amplectitur et includit : hinc ple 
rumque fieri, ut unius tantum lineamenta prsetendat. Si vero 
92qua fuerit ex pari semente permixtio, figuras quoque misceri, 
ut soboles ilia communis aut neutrum referre videatur, quia 
totum ex altero non habet; aut utrumque, quia partem de 
singulis mutuata est. Nam in corporibus animalium videmtis 
aut confundi parentum colores, ac fieri tertium neutri generan- 
tium simile ; aut utriusque sic exprimi, ut discoloribus membris 
per onme corpus concors mixtura varietur. Dispares quoque 
nature hoc modo fieri putantur. Cum forte in Isevam uteri 
partem masculinse stirpis semen incident, marem quidem gigni 
opinatio est ; sed quia sit in foeminina parte conceptus, aliquid 
in se habere foemineum, supra quam decus virile patiatur ; vel 
formam insignem, vel nimium candorem, vel corporis levitatem, 
vel artus delicatos, vel staturam brevem, vel vocem gracilem, 
vel animum imbecillum, vel ex his plura. Item, si partem 
in dextram semen foeminini sexus influxerit, foeminam quidem 
procreari ; sed quoniam in masculina parte concepta sit, habere 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 79 

in se aliquid virilitatis, ultra quani sexus ratio permittat ; aut 
valida membra, aut immoderatam longitudinem, aut fuscum 
colorem, aut hispidam faciem, aut vultum indecorum, aut vocem 
robustam, aut animum audacem, aut ex his plura. 

Si vero masculinum in dexteram, foemininum in sinistram 
pervenerit, utrosque foetus recte provenire ; ut et fceminis per 
omnia naturae suse decus constet, et maribus tarn mente, quam 
corpore robur virile servetur. Istud vero ipsum quam mirabile 
institutum Dei, quod ad conservationem generum singulorum, 
duos sexus maris ac foeminas machinatus est ; quibus inter se 
per voluptatis illecebras copulatis, successiva soboles pareretur, 
ne omne genus viventium conditio mortalitatis extingueret. 
Sed plus roboris maribus attributum est, quo facilius ad patien- 
tiam jugi maritalis foeminaa cogerentur. Vir itaque nominatus 
est, quod major in eo vis est, quam in f oemina ; et hinc virtus 
nomen accepit. Item mulier (ut Varro interpretatur) a mollitie, 
immutata et detracta littera, velut mollier ; cui suscepto foetu, 
cum partus appropinquare jam coepit, turgescentes mammae 
dulcibus succis distenduntur, et ad nutrimenta nascentis fonti- 
bus lacteis foecundum pectus exuberat. Nee enim decebat aliud 
quam ut sapiens animal a corde alimoniam duceret. Idque ipsum 
solertissime comparatum est, ut candens ac pinguis humor tene- 
ritudinem novi corporis irrigaret, donee ad capiendos fortiores 
cibos, et dentibus instruatur, et viribus roboretur. Sed redeamus 
ad propositum, ut cetera, quae supersunt, breviter explicemus. 

CHAP. xiu. Of the lower members. 

Poteram nunc ego ipsorum quoque genitalium membrorum 
mirificam rationem tibi exponere, nisi me pudor ab hujusmodi 
sermone revocaret : itaque a nobis indumento verecundiae, quaa 
sunt pudenda velentur. Quod ad hanc rem attinet, queri satis 
est, homines impios ac profanos summum nefas admittere, qui 
divinum et admirabile Dei opus, ad propagandam successionem 
inexcogitabili ratione provisum et effectum, vel ad turpissimos 
quaestus, vel ad obscoenaB libidinis pudenda opera convertunt, 
ut jam mini aliud ex re sanctissima petant, quam inanem et 
sterilem voluptatem. 

How is it with respect to the other parts of the body ? Are 
they without order and beauty ? The flesh rounded off into 
the buttocks, how adapted to the office of sitting ! and this also 



80 LACTANTIUS 

more firm than in the other limbs, lest by the pressure of the 
bulk of the body it should give way to the bones. Also the 
length of the thighs drawn out, and strengthened by broader 
muscles, in order that it might more easily sustain the weight 
of the body ; and as this is gradually contracted, it is bounded l 
by the knees, the comely joints 2 of which supply a bend which 
is most adapted for walking and sitting. Also the legs not 
drawn out in an equal manner, lest an unbecoming figure 
should deform the feet ; but they are at once strengthened and 
adorned by well-turned 3 calves gently standing out and gradu 
ally diminishing. 

But in the soles of the feet there is the same plan as in the 
hands, but yet very different : for since these are, as it were, 
the foundations of the whole body, 4 the admirable Artificer has 
not made them of a round appearance, lest man should be 
unable to stand, or should need other feet for standing, as is 
the case with quadrupeds ; but He has formed them of a longer 
and more extended shape, that they might make the body firm by 
their flatness, 5 from which circumstance their name was given 
to them. The toes are of the same number with the fingers, 
for the sake of appearance rather than utility; and on this 
account they are both joined together, and short, and put to 
gether by gradations ; and that which is the greatest of these, 
since it was not befitting that it should be separated from 
the others, as in the hand, has been so arranged in order, 
that it appears to differ from the others in magnitude and the 
small space which intervenes. This beautiful union 6 of them 
strengthens the pressure of the feet with no slight aid ; for we 
cannot be excited to running, unless, our toes being pressed 
against the ground, and resting upon the soil, we take an impetus 
and a spring. I appear to have explained all things of which 
the plan is capable of being understood. I now come to those 
things which are either doubtful or obscure. 

CHAP. xiv. Of the unknown pui^pose of some of the intestines. 
It is evident that there are many things in the body, the 

1 " Genua determinant." 2 " Nodi." 3 " Teretes." 

" Corporis." Other editions have " operis," i.e. of the whole work. 

5 "Planitie," hence "planta." 

6 " Germanitas," a brotherhood, or close connection. 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 81 

force and purpose of which no one can perceive but He who 
made them. Can any one suppose that he is able to relate 
what is the advantage, and what the effect, of that slight trans 
parent membrane by which the stomach is netted over and 
covered? What the twofold resemblance of the kidneys? 
which Varro says are so named because streams of foul moisture 
arise from these ; which is far from being the case, because, 
rising on either side of the spine, they are united, and are sepa 
rated from the intestines. What is the use of the spleen ? what 
of the liver ? which organs appear as it were to be made up l of 
disordered blood. What of the verv bitter moisture of the <^all ? 

tr> 

what of the heart? unless we shall happen to think that they 
ought to be believed, who think that the affection of anger is 
placed in the gall, that of fear in the heart, of joy in the 
spleen. But they will have it that the office of the liver is, by 
its embrace and heat, to digest the food in the stomach ; some 
think that the desires of the amorous passions are contained in 
the liver. 

First of all, the acuteness of the human sense is unable to 
perceive these things, because their offices lie concealed ; nor, 
when laid open, do they show their uses. For, if it were so, 
perhaps the more gentle animals would either have no gall at 
all, or less than the wild beasts ; the more timid ones would have 
more heart, the more lustful would have more liver, the more 
playful more spleen. As, therefore, we perceive that we hear 
with our ears, that we see with our eyes, that we smell with our 
nostrils ; so assuredly we should perceive that we are angry with 
the gall, that we desire with the liver, that we rejoice with the 
spleen. Since, therefore, we do not at all perceive from what 
part those affections come, it is possible that they may come 
from another source, and that those organs may have a different 
effect to that which we suppose ; but we cannot, however, prove 
that they who discuss these things speak falsely. But I think 
that all things which relate to the motions of the mind and 
soul, are of so obscure and profound a nature, that it is beyond 
the power of man to see through them clearly. This, however, 
ought to be sure and undoubted, that so many objects and so 
many organs have one and the same office to retain the soul in 
the body. But what office is particularly assigned to each, who 

1 Con ere ta esse. 
LACT. VOL. II. F 



82 LACTANTIUS 

can know, except the Designer, to whom alone His own work 
is known ? 

CHAP. xv. Of the voice. 

But what account can we give of the voice ? Grammarians, 
indeed, and philosophers, define the voice to be air struck by the 
breath; from which words 1 derive their name: which is plainly 
false. For the voice is not produced outside of the mouth, but 
within , and therefore that opinion is more probable, that the 
breath, being compressed, when it has struck against the ob 
stacle presented by the throat, forces out the sound of the voice : 
as when we send down the breath into an open hemlock stalk, 
having applied it to the lips, and the breath, reverberating from 
the hollow of the stalk, and rolled back from the bottom, while 
it returns 2 to that descending through meeting with itself, 
striving for an outlet, produces a sound; and the wind, rebound 
ing by itself, is animated into vocal breath. Now, whether this 
is true, God, who is the designer, may see. For the voice 
appears to arise not from the mouth, but from the innermost 
breast. In fine, even when the mouth is closed, a sound such 
as is possible is emitted from the nostrils. Moreover, also, the 
voice is not affected by that greatest breath with which we 
gasp, but with a light and not compressed breath, as often as 
we wish. It has not therefore been comprehended in what 
manner it takes place, or what it is altogether. And do not 
imagine that I am now falling into the opinion of the Academy, 
for all things are not incomprehensible. For as it must be 
confessed that many things are unknown, since God has willed 
that they should exceed the understanding of man ; so, how 
ever, it must be acknowledged that there are many which may 
both be perceived by the senses and comprehended by the 
reason. But we shall devote an entire treatise to the refutation 
of the philosophers. Let us therefore finish the course over 
which we are now running. 

CHAP, xvi. Of the mind and its seat. 
That the nature of the mind is also incomprehensible, who 

* " Verba," as though derived from " verbero," to strike. 

Bum ad descendentem occursu suo redit. Others read, " Bum descen- 
dentem reddit." 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 83 

can be ignorant, but he who is altogether destitute of mind, 
since it is not known in what place the mind is situated, or of 
what nature it is? Therefore various things have been dis 
cussed by philosophers concerning its nature and place. But I 
will not conceal what my own sentiments are : not that I should 
affirm that it is so (for it is the part of a foolish person to do 
this in a doubtful matter) ; but that when I have set forth the 
difficulty of the matter, you may understand how great is the 
magnitude of the divine works. Some would have it, that the 
seat of the mind is in the breast. But if this is so, how won 
derful is it, that a faculty which is situated in an obscure and 
dark habitation should be employed in so great a light of reason 
and intelligence ; then that the senses from every part of the 
body come together to it, so that it appears to be present in any 
quarter of the limbs ! Others have said that its seat is in the 
brain : and, indeed, they have used probable arguments, saying 
that it was doubtless befitting that that which had the govern 
ment of the whole body should especially have its abode in the 
highest place, as though in the citadel of the body ; and that 
nothing should be in a more elevated position than that which 
governs the whole by reason, just as the Lord Himself, and 
Kuler of the universe, is in the highest place. Then they say 
that the organs which are the ministers of each sense, that is, 
of hearing, and seeing, and smelling, are situated in the head, 
and that the channels of all these lead not to the breast, but to 
the brain : otherwise we must be more slow in the exercise of 
our senses, until the power of sensation by a long course should 
descend through the neck even to the breast. These, in truth, 
do not greatly err, or perchance not at all. 

For the mind, which exercises control over the body, appears 
to be placed in the highest part, the head, as God is in heaven; 
but when it is engaged in any reflection, it appears to pass to 
the breast, and, as it were, to withdraw to some secret recess, 
that it may elicit and draw forth counsel, as it were, from a 
hidden treasury. And therefore, when we are intent upon re 
flection, and when the mind, being occupied, has withdrawn 
itself to the inner depth, 1 we are acccustomed neither to hear 
the things which sound about us, nor to see the things which 
stand in our way. But whether this is the case, it is assuredly 
1 In altum se abdiderit. 



84 LACTANTIUS 

a matter of admiration how this takes place, since there is no 
passage from the brain to the breast. But if it is not so, never- 
theless it is no less a matter of admiration that, by some divine 
plan or other, it is caused that it appears to be so. Can any 
fail to admire that that living and heavenly faculty which is 
called the mind or the soul, is of such volubility ^that it does 
not rest even then when it is asleep ; of such rapidity, that it 
surveys the whole heaven at one moment of time; and, if it 
wills, flies over seas, traverses lands and cities, in short, places 
in its own sight all things which it pleases, however far and 
widely they are removed ? 

And does any one wonder if the divine mind of God, being 
extended 2 through all parts of the universe, runs to and fro, 
and rules all things, governs all things, being everywhere pre 
sent, everywhere diffused ; when the strength and power of the 
human mind, though enclosed within a mortal body, is so great, 
that it can in no way be restrained even by the barriers of this 
heavy and slothful body, to which it is bound, from bestowing 
upon itself, in its impatience of rest, the power of wandering 
without restraint? Whether, therefore, the mind has its dwell 
ing in the head or in the breast, can any one comprehend what 
power of reason effects, that that incomprehensible faculty 
either remains fixed in the marrow of the brain, or in that blood 
divided into two parts 3 which is enclosed in the heart; and not 
infer from this very circumstance how great is the power of 
God, because the soul does not see itself, or of what nature or 
where it is ; and if it did see, yet it would not be able to per 
ceive in what manner an incorporeal substance is united with 
one which is corporeal? Or if the mind has no fixed locality, 
but runs here and there scattered through the whole body, 
which is possible, and was asserted by Xenocrates, the disciple 
of Plato, then, inasmuch as intelligence is present in every 
part of the body, it cannot be understood what that mind is, or 
what its qualities are, since its nature is so subtle and refined, 
that, though infused into solid organs by a living and, as it 
were, ardent perception, it is mingled with all the members. 

But take care that you never think it probable, as Aris- 
toxenus said, that the mind has no existence, but that the power 
of perception exists from the constitution of the body and the 
1 Mobilitatia. 2 Intenta discurrit. * Bipartito. 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 85 

construction of the organs, as harmony does in the case of the 
lyre. For musicians call the stretching and sounding of the 
strings to entire strains, without any striking of notes in agree 
ment with them, harmony. They will have it, therefore, that 
the soul in man exists in a manner like that by which har 
monious modulation exists on the lyre ; namely, that the firm 
uniting of the separate parts of the body and the vigour of all 
the limbs agreeing together, makes that perceptible motion, and 
adjusts 1 the mind, as well-stretched things produce harmonious 
sound. And as, in the lyre, when anything has been interrupted 
or relaxed, the whole method of the strain is disturbed and de 
stroyed ; so in the body, when any part of the limbs receives an 
injury, the whole are weakened, and all being corrupted and 
thrown into confusion, the power of perception is destroyed: and 
this is called death. But he, if he had possessed any mind, would 
never have transferred harmony from the lyre to man. For 
the lyre cannot of its own accord send forth a sound, so that 
there can be in this any comparison and resemblance to a living 
person ; but the soul both reflects and is moved of its own 
accord. But if there were in us anything resembling harmony, 
it would be moved by a blow from without, as the strings of 
the lyre are by the hands ; whereas without the handling of 
the artificer, and the stroke of the fingers, they lie mute and 
motionless. But doubtless he 2 ought to have beaten by the 
hand, that he might at length observe ; for his mind, badly com 
pacted from his members, was in a state of torpor. 

CHAT. xvn. Of the soul, and the opinion of philosophers 
concerning it. 

It remains to speak of the soul, although its system and 
nature cannot be perceived. Nor, therefore, do we fail to under 
stand that the soul is immortal, since whatever is vigorous and 
is in motion by itself at all times, and cannot be seen or touched, 
must be eternal. But what the soul is, is not yet agreed 
upon by philosophers, and perhaps will never be agreed upon. 
For some have said that it is blood, others that it is fire, 
others wind, from which it has received its name of " anima," 
3," because in Greek the wind is called " ane- 

1 Concinnet. 

2 Aristoxenus, whose opinion has been mentioned above. 



86 LACTANT1US 

mos," 1 and yet none of these appears to have spoken any 
thing. For if the soul appears to be extinguished when the 
blood is poured forth through a wound, or is exhausted by the 
heat of fevers, it does not therefore follow that the system of the 
soul is to be placed in the material of the blood ; as though a 
question should arise as to the nature of the light which we 
make use of, and the answer should be given that it is oil, for 
when that is consumed the light is extinguished : since they are 
plainly different, but the one is the nourishment of the other. 
Therefore the soul appears to be like light, since it is not itself 
blood, but is nourished by the moisture of the blood, as light is 
by oil. 

But they who have supposed it to be fire made use of this 
argument, that when the soul is present the body is warm, but 
on its departure the body grows cold. But fire is both without 
perception and is seen, and burns when touched. But the soul 
is both endowed with perception and cannot be seen, and does 
not burn. From which it is evident that the soul is something 
like God. But they who suppose that it is wind are deceived 
by this, because we appear to live by drawing breath from the 
air. Varro gives this definition : " The soul is air conceived in 
the mouth, warmed in the lungs, heated in the heart, diffused 
into the body." These things are most plainly false. For I 
say that the nature of things of this kind is not so obscure, 
that we do not even understand what cannot be true. If any 
one should say to me that the heaven is of brass, or crystal, 
or, as Empedocles says, that it is frozen air, must I at once 
assent because I do not know of what material the heaven is ? 
For as I know not this, I know that. Therefore the soul is 
not air conceived in the mouth, because the soul is produced 
much before air can be conceived in the mouth. For. it is not 
introduced into the body after birth, as it appears to some 
philosophers, but immediately after conception, when the divine 
necessity has formed the offspring in the womb ; for it so lives 
within the bowels of its mother, that it is increased in growth, 
and delights to bound with repeated beatings. In short, there 
must be a miscarriage if the living young within shall die. 
The other parts of the definition have reference to this, that 
during those nine months in which we were in the womb we 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD, 87 

appear to have been dead. None, therefore, of these three 
opinions is true. We cannot, however, say that they who held 
these sentiments were false to such an extent that they said 
nothing at all ; for we live at once by the blood, and heat, and 
breath. But since the soul exists in the body by the union of 
all these, they did not express what it was in its own proper 
sense j 1 for as it cannot be seen, so it cannot be expressed. 

CHAP. xvin. Of the soul and the mind, and their affections. 

There follows another, and in itself an inexplicable inquiry : 
Whether the soul and the mind are the same, or there be one 
faculty by which we live, and another by which we perceive 
and have discernment. There are not wanting arguments on 
either side. For they who say that they are one faculty make 
use of this argument, that we cannot live without perception, 
nor perceive without life, and therefore that that which is 
incapable of separation cannot be different ; but that whatever 
it is, it has the office of living and the method of perception. 
On which account two 2 Epicurean poets speak of the mind 
and the soul indifferently. But they who say that they are 
different argue in this way : That the mind is one thing, 
and the soul another, may be understood from this, that the 
mind may be extinguished while the soul is uninjured, which is 
accustomed to happen in the case of the insane ; also, that the 
soul is put to rest 3 by death, the mind by sleep, and indeed in 
such a manner that it is not only ignorant of what is taking 
place, 4 or where it is, but it is even deceived by the contempla 
tion of false objects. And how this takes place cannot accu 
rately be perceived ; why it takes place can be perceived. For we 
can by no means rest unless the mind is kept occupied by the 
similitudes 5 of visions. But the mind lies hid, oppressed with 
sleep, as fire buried 6 by ashes drawn over it ; but if you stir it a 
little it again blazes, and, as it were, wakes up. 7 Therefore it is 
called away by images, 8 until the limbs, bedewed with sleep, are 

1 Proprie. 

2 Lucretius is undoubtedly one of the poets here referred to ; some think 
that Virgil, others that Horace, is the second. 

3 Sopiatur. 4 Quid fiat. Others read " quid faciat. 
5 Imaginibus. 6 Sopitus. 

7 Evigilat. 8 Simulacris. 



88 LACTANTIUS 

invigorated ; for the body while the perception is awake, although 
it lies motionless, yet is not at rest, because the perception burns 
in it, and vibrates as a flame, and keeps all the limbs bound to 
itself. 

But when the mind is transferred from its application to 
the contemplation of images, then at length the whole body is 
resolved into rest. But the mind is transferred from dark 
thought, when, under the influence of darkness, it has begun to 
be alone with itself. While it is intent upon those things con 
cerning which it is reflecting, sleep suddenly creeps on, and the 
thought itself imperceptibly turns aside to the nearest appear 
ances r 1 thus it begins also to see those things which it had 
placed before its eyes. Then it proceeds further, and finds 
diversions 2 for itself, that it may not interrupt the most healthy 
repose of the body. For as the mind is diverted in the day by 
true sights, so that it does not sleep ; so is it diverted in the ni^ht 
by false sights, so that it is not aroused. For if it perceives no 
images, it will follow of necessity either that it is awake, or that 
it is asleep in perpetual death. Therefore the system of dream 
ing has been given by God for the sake of sleeping ; and, indeed, 
it has been given to all animals in common ; but this especially 
to man, that when God gave this system on account of rest, 
He left to Himself the power of teaching man future events by 
means of the dream. 3 For narratives often testify that there 
have been dreams which have had an immediate and a remark 
able accomplishment, 4 and the answers of our prophets have been 
after the character of a dream. 5 On which account they are 
not always true, nor always false, as Virgil testified, 6 who 
supposed that there were two gates for the passage of dreams. 
But those which are false are seen for the sakeof sleeping; 
those which are true are sent by God, that by this revelation we 
may learn impending goods or evils. 

1 S P ecies - 2 Avocamenta. 

Thus Joseph and Daniel were interpreters of dreams ; and the prophet 
Joel (ii. 28) foretells this as a mark of the last days, " Your old men shall 
dream dreams, your young men shall see visions." 

4 Quorum prsesens et admirabilis fuerit eventus. 

5 Ex parte somnii constiteruut. Some editions read, u ex parte somniis 
constituenmt." 

G JEneid, vi. 894. 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 89 

CHAP. xix. Of the soul, and it given ly God. 

A question also may arise respecting this, whether the soul 
is produced from the father, or rather from the mother, or 
indeed from both. But I think that this judgment is to be 
formed as though in a doubtful matter. 1 For nothing is true 
of these three opinions, because souls are produced neither from 
both nor from either. For a body may be produced from a 
body, since something is contributed from both ; but a soul 
cannot be produced from souls, because nothing can depart 
from a slight and incomprehensible subject. Therefore the 
manner of the production of souls belongs entirely to God alone. 

" In fine, we are all sprung from a heavenly seed, all have 
that same Father," as Lucretius 2 says. For nothing but what 
is mortal can be generated from mortals. Nor ouo-ht he to be 

o o 

deemed a father who in no way perceives that he has trans 
mitted or breathed a soul from his own ; nor, if he perceives it, 
comprehends in his mind when or in what manner that effect is 
produced. 

From this it is evident that souls are not given by parents, 
but by one and the same God and Father of all, who alone has 
the law and method of their birth, since He alone produces 
them. For the part of the earthly parent is nothing more than 
with a sense of pleasure to emit the moisture of the body, in 
which is the material of birth, or to receive it ; and to this work 
man s power is limited, 3 nor has he any further power. There 
fore men wish for the birth of sons, because they do not them 
selves bring it about. Everything beyond this is the work of 
God, namely, the conception itself, and the moulding of the 
body, and the breathing in of life, and the bringing forth in 
safety, and whatever afterwards contributes to the preservation 
of man : it is His gift that we breathe, that we live, and are 
vigorous. For, besides that we owe it to His bounty that we 
are safe in body, and that He supplies us with nourishment 
from various sources, He also gives to man wisdom, which no 
earthly father can by any means give ; and therefore it often 
happens that foolish sons are born from wise parents, and wise 

1 " Sed ego id in eo jure ab ancipiti vindico." 2 ii. 991. 

3 " Et citra hoc opus homo resistit." The compound word "resistit" is 
used for the simple sistit stands. 



90 LACTANTIUS 

sons from foolish parents, which some persons attribute to fate 
and the stars. But this is not now the time to discuss the 
subject of fate. It is sufficient to say this, that even if the 
stars hold together the efficacy of all things, it is nevertheless 
certain that all things are done by God, who both made and set 
in order the stars themselves. They are therefore senseless 
who detract this power from God, and assign it to His work. 

He would have it, therefore, to be in our own power, whether 
we use or do not use this divine and excellent gift of God. 
For, having granted this, He bound man himself by the mystery 1 
of virtue, by which he might be able to gain life. For great is 
the power, great the reason, great the mysterious purpose of 
man; and if any one shall not abandon this, nor betray his 
fidelity and devotedness, he must be happy : he, in short, to sum 
up the matter in few words, must of necessity resemble God. 
For he is in error whosoever judges of 2 man by his flesh. For 
this worthless body 3 with which we are clothed is the receptacle 
of man. 4 For man himself can neither be touched, nor looked 
upon, nor grasped, because he lies hidden within this body, 
which is seen. And if he shall be more luxurious and delicate 
in this life than its nature demands, if he shall despise virtue, 
and give himself to the pursuit of fleshly lusts, he will fall and 
be pressed down to the earth ; but if (as his duty is) he shall 
readily and constantly maintain his position, which is right for 
him, and he has rightly obtained, 5 if he shall not be enslaved 
to the earth, which he ought to trample upon and overcome, 
he will gain eternal life. 

CHAP, xx. Of himself and the truth. 

These things I have written to you, Demetrianus, for the 
present in few words, and perhaps with more obscurity than was 
befitting, in accordance with the necessity of circumstances and 
the time, with which you ought to be content, since you are 
about to receive more and better things if God shall favour us. 

" Sacramento." 2 u Metitur? mea sures. 

Corpusculum." The diminutive appears to imply contempt. 
The expression is too general, since the body as well as the soul is a 
true part of man s nature. 

5 u Quern rectum recte sortitus est." In some editions the word " recte" 
is omitted. 



ON THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD. 91 

Then, accordingly, I will exhort you with greater clearness and 
truth to the learning of true philosophy. For I have determined 
to commit to writing as many things as I shall be able, which 
have reference to the condition of a happy life ; and that indeed 
against the philosophers, since they are pernicious and weighty 
for the disturbing of the truth. For the force of their eloquence 
is incredible, and their subtlety in argument and disputation 
may easily deceive any one ; and these we will refute partly by 
our own weapons, but partly by weapons borrowed from their 
mutual wrangling, so that it may be evident that they rather 
introduced error than removed it. 

Perhaps you may wonder that I venture to undertake so 
great a deed. Shall we then suffer the truth to be extinguished 
or crushed ? I, in truth, would more willingly fail even under 
this burthen. For if Marcus Tullius, the unparalleled example 
of eloquence itself, was often vanquished by men void of learn 
ing and eloquence, who, however, were striving for that which 
was true, why should we despair that the truth itself will by 
its own peculiar force and clearness avail against deceitful and 
captious eloquence ? They indeed are wont to profess themselves 
advocates of the truth ; but who can defend that which he has 
not learned, or make clear to others that which he himself does 
not know ? I seem to promise a great thing ; but there is need 
of the favour of Heaven, that ability and time may be given 
us for following our purpose. But if life is to be wished for 
by a wise man, assuredly I should wish to live for no other 
reason than that I may effect something which may be w r orthy 
of life, and which may be useful to my readers, if not for 
eloquence, because there is in me but a slight stream of 
eloquence, at any rate for living, which is especially needful. 
And when I have accomplished this, I shall think that I have 
lived enough, and that I have discharged the duty of a man, if 
my labour shall have freed some men from errors, and have 
directed them to the path which leads to heaven. 




THE EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES, 

ADDKESSED TO HIS BROTHER PENTADIUS. 



THE PREFACE. The plan and purport of the ivhole Epitome, and 
of the " Institutions" 

1LTHOUGH the books of the Divine Institutions which 
we \vrote a long time since to illustrate the truth and 
religion, may so prepare and mould the minds of 
the readers, that their length may not produce 
disgust, nor their copiousness be burthen some ; nevertheless you 
desire, brother Pentadius, that an epitome of them should 
be made for you, I suppose for this reason, that I may write 
something to you, and that your name may be rendered famous 
by my work, such as it is. I will comply with your desire, 
although it seems a difficult matter to comprise within the com 
pass of one book those things which have been treated of in 
seven large volumes. For the whole matter becomes less full 
when so great a multitude of subjects is to be compressed 
within a narrow space ; and it becomes less clear by its very 
brevity, especially since many arguments and examples, on 
which the elucidation of the proofs depends, must of neces 
sity be omitted, since their copiousness is so great, that even by 
themselves they are enough to make up a book. And when 
these are removed, what can appear useful, what plain ? But 
I will strive as much as the subject permits, both to contract 
that which is diffuse and to shorten that which is long ; in such 
a manner, however, that in this work, in which truth is to be 
brought to light, matter may not seem to be wanting for copious 
ness, nor clearness for understanding it. 

CHAP. i. Of the divine providence. 

First a question arises : Whether there is any providence 
which made or governs the world? That there is, no one 

92 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 93 

doubts, since of almost all the philosophers, except the school of 
Epicurus, there is but one voice and one opinion, that the world 
could not have been made without a contriver, and that it 
cannot exist without a ruler. Therefore Epicurus is refuted 
not only by the most learned men, but also by the testimonies 
and perceptions of all mortals. For who can doubt respecting 
a providence, when he sees that the heavens and the earth have 
been so arranged, and that all things have been so regulated, 
that they might be most befittingly adapted, not only to wonder 
ful beauty and adornment, but also to the use of men, and the 
convenience of the other living creatures ? That, therefore, 
which exists in accordance with a plan, cannot have had its 
beginning without a plan : thus 1 it is certain that there is a 
providence. 

CHAP. IT. That there is but one God, and that there cannot 
be more. 

Another question follows : Whether there be one God or 
more ? And this indeed contains much ambiguity. For not 
only do individuals differ among themselves, but also peoples 
and nations. But he who shall follow the guidance of reason 
will understand that there cannot be a Lord except one, nor a 
Father except one. For if God, who made all things, is also 
Lord and Father, He must be one only, so that the same may 
be the head and source of all things. Nor is it possible for the 
world 2 to exist unless all things be referred to one person, un 
less one hold the rudder, unless one guide the reins, and, as it 
were, one mind direct all the members of the body. If there 
are many kings in a swarm of bees, they will perish or be 
scattered abroad, while 

u Discord attacks the kings with great commotion." 3 

If there are several leaders in a herd, they will contend until 
one gains the mastery. 4 If there are many commanders in an 
army, the soldiers cannot obey, since different commands are 

1 " Quoniam." This word appears to be out of place, as its proper mean 
ing is " since." Either it must be taken as above, or, with some editors, 
the last clause of this chapter may be taken as the beginning of the next 
chapter " Since there is a providence," etc. 

2 k Rerum sumrna." 3 Virg. Georg. iv. 68. 4 " Obtineat." 



94 



LACTANTIUS. 



given ; nor can unity be maintained by themselves, since each 
consults his own interests according to his humours. 1 Thus, in 
this commonwealth of the world, unless there were one ruler, 
who was also its founder, either this mass would be dissolved, 
or it could not have been put together at all. 

Moreover, the whole (authority) could not exist in many 
(deities), since they separately maintain their own duties and 
their own prerogatives. No one, therefore, of them can be 
called omnipotent, which is the true title of God, since he will 
be able to accomplish that only which depends upon himself, 
and will not venture to attempt that which depends upon others. 
Vulcan will not claim for himself water, nor Neptune fire ; nor 
will Ceres claim acquaintance with the arts, nor Minerva with 
fruits ; nor will Mercury lay claim to arms, nor Mars to the 
lyre; Jupiter will not claim medicine, nor JEscuIapius the 
thunderbolt: he will more easily endure it when thrown by 
another, than he will brandish it himself. If, therefore, indi 
viduals cannot do all things, they have less strength and less 
power ; but he is to be regarded as God who can accomplish 
the whole, and not he who can only accomplish the smallest 
part of the whole. 

CHAP. in. The testimonies of the poets concerning the one God. 
There is, then, one God, perfect, eternal, incorruptible, in 
capable of suffering, subject to no circumstance or power, Him 
self possessing all things, ruling all things, whom the human 
mind can neither estimate in thought nor mortal tongue de 
scribe in speech. For He is too elevated and great to be 
conceived by the thought, or expressed by the language of 
man. In short, not to speak of the prophets, the preachers of 
the one God, poets also, and philosophers, and inspired women, 2 
utter their testimony to the unity of God. Orpheus speaks of 
the surpassing God who made the heaven and the sun, with the 
other heavenly bodies ; who made the earth and the seas. Also 
our own Maro calls the supreme God at one time a spirit, at 
another time a mind, and says that it, as though infused into 
limbs, puts in motion the body of the whole world; also, that 
1 permeates the heights of heaven, the tracts of the sea 

|Tro moribus." Another reading is "pro viribus," with all their power. 
2 "Vates," i.e. the Sibyls. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 95 

and lands, and that all living creatures derive their life from 
Him. Even Ovid was not ignorant that the world was pre 
pared by God, whom he sometimes calls the framer of all 
things, sometimes the fabricator of the world. 

CHAP. iv. The testimonies of the philosophers to the unity 
of God. 

But let us come to the philosophers, whose authority is re 
garded as more certain than that of the poets. Plato asserts 
His monarchy, saying that there is but one God, by whom 
the world was prepared and completed with wonderful order. 
Aristotle, his disciple, admits that there is one mind which pre 
sides over the world. Antisthenes says that there is one who 
is God by nature, 1 the governor of the whole system. It would 
be a long task to recount the statements which have been made 
respecting the supreme God, either by Thales, or by Pytha 
goras and Anaximenes before him, or afterwards by the Stoics 
Cleanthes and Chrysippus and Zeno, or of our countrymen, by 
Seneca following the Stoics, and by Tullius himself, since all 
these attempted to define the being of God, 2 and affirmed that 
the world is ruled by Him alone, and that He is not subject to 
any nature, since all nature derives its origin from Him. 

Hermes, who, on account of his virtue and his knowledge of 
many arts, deserved the name of Trismegistus, who preceded 
the philosophers in the antiquity of his doctrine, and who is 
reverenced by the Egyptians as a god, in asserting the majesty 
of the one God with infinite praises, calls Him Lord and Father, 
and says that He is without a name because He does not stand 
in need of a proper name, inasmuch as He is alone, and that 
He has no parents, since He exists of Himself and by Himself. 
In writing to his son he thus begins : To understand God is 
difficult, to describe Him in speech is impossible, even for one 
to whom it is possible to understand Him; for the perfect 
cannot be comprehended by the imperfect, nor the invisible by 
the visible. 

CHAP. v. That the prophetic women that is, the Sibyls 
declare that there is but one God. 

It remains to speak of the prophetic women. Varro relates 
1 " Naturalem." 2 " Quid sit Deus." 



96 LACTANTIUS. 

that there were ten Sibyls the first of the Persians, the second 
the Libyan, the third the Delphian, the fourth the Cimmerian, 
the fifth the Erythraean, the sixth the Samian, the seventh the 
Cumaean, the eighth the Hellespontian, the ninth the Phrygian, 
the tenth the Tiburtine, who has the name of Albunea. Of 
all these, he says that there are three books of the Cum sean 
alone which contain the fates of the Komans, and are accounted 
sacred, but that there exist, and are commonly regarded as 
separate, books of almost all the others, but that they are en 
titled, as though by one name, Sibylline books, excepting that 
the Erythraean, who is said to have lived in the times of the 
Trojan war, placed her name in her book : the writings of the 
others are mixed together. 

All these Sibyls of whom I have spoken, except the Cumsean, 
whom none but the Quindecemviri 1 are allowed to read, bear 
witness that there is but one God, the ruler, the maker, the 
parent, not begotten of any, but sprung from Himself, who was 
from all ages, and will be to all ages ; and therefore is alone 
worthy of being worshipped, alone of being feared, alone of 
being reverenced, by all living beings ; whose testimonies I 
have omitted because I was unable to abridge them ; but if you 
wish to see them, you must have recourse to the books them 
selves. Now let us follow up the remaining subjects. 

CHAP. vi. Since God is eternal and immortal, He does not 
stand in need of sex and succession. 

These testimonies, therefore, so many and so great, clearly 
teach that there is but one government in the world, and one 
power, the origin of which cannot be imagined, or its force 
described. They are foolish, therefore, who imagine that the 
gods were born of marriage, since the sexes themselves, and the 
intercourse between them, were given to mortals by God for 
this reason, that every race might be preserved by a succession 
of offspring. But what need have the immortals either of sex^ 
or succession, since neither pleasure nor death affects them? 
Those, therefore, who are reckoned as gods, since it is evident 
that they were born as men, and that they begat others, were 

1 The appointed guardians of the Sibylline books. At first there were 
two ; the number was afterwards increased to ten, and subsequently to 
fifteen, termed Quindecemviri. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 97 

plainly mortals : but they were believed to be gods, because, 
when they were great and powerful kings, on account of the 
benefits which they had conferred upon men, they deserved to 
obtain divine honours after death ; and temples and statues 
being erected to them, their memory was retained and cele 
brated as that of immortals. 

CHAP. vii. Of the wicked life and death of Hercules. 

But though almost all nations are persuaded that they are 
gods, yet their actions, as related both by poets and historians, 
declare that they were men. Who is ignorant of the times in 
which Hercules lived, since he both sailed with the Argonauts 
on their expedition, and having stormed Troy, slew Laomedon, 
the father of Priam, on account of his perjury ? From that 
time rather more than 1500 years are reckoned. He is said 
not even to have been born honourably, but to have been sprung 
from Alcmena by adultery, and to have been himself addicted 
to the vices of his father. He never abstained from women, or 
males, and traversed the whole world, not so much for the sake 
of glory as of lust, nor so much for the slaughter of beasts as 
for the begetting of children. And though he was unvanquished, 
yet he was triumphed over by Omphale alone, to whom he gave 
up his club and lion s skin; and being clothed in a woman s 
garment, and crouching at a woman s feet, he received his task 1 
to execute. He afterwards, in a transport of frenzy, killed his 
little children and his wife Megara. At last, having put on a 
garment sent by his wife Deianyra, when he was perishing 
through ulcers, being unable to endure the pain, he constructed 
for himself a funeral pile on mount -ZEta, and burnt himself 
alive. Thus it is effected, that although on account of his ex 
cellence 2 he might have been believed to be a god, nevertheless 
on account of these things he is believed to have been a man. 

CHAP. viii. Of uHsculapius, Apollo, Mars, Castor and Pollux, 
and of Mercurius and Bacchus. 

Tarquitius relates that ^Esculapius was born of doubtful 
parents, and that on this account he was exposed ; and being 
taken up by hunters, and fed by the teats of a hound, was 

1 Pensa quse faceret. " Pensum " properly signifies the wool daily 
weighed out and given to each servant. 2 Ob virtutem. 

LACT. VOL. II. Q. 



gs LACTANTltS. 

given to Chiron for instruction. He lived at Epidaurus, and 
was buried at Cynosuras, as Cicero says, 1 when he had been 
killed by lightning. But Apollo, his father, did not disdain to 
take charge of another s flock that he might receive a wife ; 2 
and when he had unintentionally killed a boy whom he loved, 
he inscribed his own lamentations on a flower. Mars, a man 
of the greatest bravery, was not free from the charge of adul 
tery, since he was made a spectacle, being bound with a chain 
together with the adulteress. 

Castor and Pollux carried off the brides of others, but not with 
impunity, to whose death and burial Homer bears witness, not 
with poetical, but simple faith. Mercurius, who was the father 
of Androgynus by his intrigue with Venus, deserved to be a god, 
because he invented the lyre and the palsestra. Father Bacchus, 
after subduing India as a conqueror, having by chance come 
to Crete, saw Ariadne on the shore, whom Theseus had forced 
and deserted. Then, being inflamed by love, he united her in 
marriage to himself, and placed her crown, as the poets say, 
conspicuously among the stars. The mother of the gods 3 her 
self, while she lived in Phrygia after the banishment and death 
of her husband, though a widow, and aged, was enamoured of 
a beautiful youth ; and because he was not faithful, she muti 
lated, and rendered him effeminate : on which account even 
now she delights in the Galli 4 as her priests. 

CHAP. ix. Of the disgraceful deeds of tlie gods. 

Whence did Ceres bring forth Proserpine, except from de 
bauchery ? Whence did Latona bring forth her twins, except 
from crime ? Venus having been subject to the lusts of gods 
and men, when she reigned in Cyprus, invented the practice of 
courtezanship, and commanded women to make traffic of them 
selves, that she might not alone be infamous. Were the virgins 
themselves, Minerva and Diana, chaste ? Whence, then, did 

1 Cicero, de Nat. Dear. iii. 22. 

2 When Pelias had promised his daughter Alcestis to Admetus, on con 
dition of his coming to her in a chariot drawn by lions and boars, ApoUo 
enabled Admetus to fulfil this condition. 

3 Rhea, or Cybele. 

4 Galli, the priests of Cybele, were so called: they mutilated themselves, 
and performed many raving ceremonies. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 99 

Erichthonius arise ? Did Vulcan shed his seed upon the ground, 
and was man born from that as a fungus ? Or why did Diana 
banish Hippolytus either to a retired place, or give him up to a 
woman, where he might pass his life in solitude among unknown 
groves, and having now changed his name, might be called 
Virbius ? What do these things signify but impurity, which 
the poets do not venture to confess 1 

CHAP. x. Of Jupiter , and his licentious life. 

But respecting the king and father of all these, Jupiter, 
whom they believe to possess the chief power in heaven, what 
power 1 had he, who banished his father Saturnus from his 
kingdom, and pursued him with arms when he fled ? What 
self-restraint had he, who indulged every kind of lust? For 
he made Alcmena and Leda, the wives of great men, infamous 
through his adultery : he also, captivated with the beauty of a 
boy, carried him off with violence as he was hunting and medi 
tating manly things, that he might treat him as a woman. 
Why should I mention his debaucheries of virgins ? and how 
great a multitude of these there was, is shown by the number 
of his sons. In the case of Thetis alone he \vas more tem 
perate. For it had been predicted that the son whom she 
should bring forth would be more powerful than his father. 
Therefore he struggled with his love, that one might not be 
born greater than himself. He knew, therefore, that he was 
not of perfect virtue, greatness, and power, since he feared 
that which he himself had done to his father. Why, therefore, 
is he called best and greatest, since he both contaminated him 
self with faults, which is the part of one who is unjust and 
bad, and feared a greater than himself, which is the part of 
one who is weak and inferior? 

CHAP. xi. The various emblems under which the poets veiled 
the turpitude of Jupiter. 

But some one will say that these things are feigned by the 
poets. This is not the usage of the poets, to feign in such a 
manner that you fabricate the whole, but so that you cover 
the actions themselves with a figure, and, as it were, with a 

1 Quid potestatis. Others read "pietatis," which appears more suitable 
to the sense of the passage. 



100 LACTANTIUS. 

variegated veil. Poetic licence has this limit, not that it may 
invent the whole, which is the part of one who is false and 
senseless, but that it may change something consistently with 
reason. They said that Jupiter changed himself into a shower 
of gold, that he might deceive Danae. What is a shower of 
gold? Plainly golden coins, by offering a great quantity of 
which, and pouring them into her bosom, he corrupted the 
frailty of her virgin soul by this bribe. Thus also they speak 
of a shower of iron, when they wish to signify a multitude of 
javelins. He carried off his catamite upon an eagle. What is 
the eagle? Truly a legion, since the figure of this animal is 
the standard of the legion. He carried Europa across the sea 
on a bull. What is the bull ? Clearly a ship, which had its 
tutelary image 1 fashioned in the shape of a bull. So assuredly 
the daughter of Inachus was not turned into a cow, nor as such 
did she swim across, but she escaped the anger of Juno in a 
ship which had the form of a cow. Lastly, when she had been 
conveyed to Egypt, she became Isis, whose voyage is celebrated 
on a fixed day, in memory of her flight. 

CHAP. xn. The poets do not invent all those things which relate 
to the gods. 

You see, then, that the poets did not invent all things, and that 
they prefigured some things, that, when they spoke the truth, 
they might add something like this of divinity to those whom 
they called gods ; as they did also respecting their kingdoms. 
For when they say that Jupiter had by lot the kingdom of 
Coelus, they either mean Mount Olympus, on which ancient 
stories relate that Saturnus, and afterwards Jupiter, dwelt, or 
a part of the East, which is, as it were, higher, because the 
light arises thence ; but the region of the West is lower, and 
therefore they say that Pluto obtained the lower regions ; but 
that the sea was given to Neptune, because he had the maritime 
coast, with all the islands. Many things are thus coloured by 
the poets ; and they who are ignorant of this, censure them as 
false, but only in word : for in fact they believe them, since 
they so fashion the images of the gods, that when they make 
them male and female, and confess that some are married, some 

1 Tutela. The image of some deity, supposed to be the tutelary guar 
dian of the ship, was usually painted on the stern 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 101 

parents, and some children, they plainly assent to the poets ; 
for these relations cannot exist without intercourse and the 
generation of children. 

CHAP. xiu. The actions of Jupiter are related from tJie 
historian Euhemerus. 

But let us leave the poets ; let us come to history, which is 
supported both by the credibility of the facts and by the anti 
quity of the times. Euhemerus was a Messenian, a very ancient 
writer, who gave an account of the origin of Jupiter, and his 
exploits, and all his posterity, gathered from the sacred inscrip 
tions of ancient temples ; he also traced out the parents of the 
other gods, their countries, actions, commands, and deaths, and 
even their sepulchres. And this history Ennius translated into 
Latin, whose words are these: "As these things are written, so 
is the origin and kindred of Jupiter and his brothers; after this 
manner it is handed down to us in the sacred writing." The 
same Euhemerus therefore relates that Jupiter, when he had 
five times gone round the world, and had distributed govern 
ments to his friends and relatives, and had given laws to men, 
and had wrought many other benefits, being endued with im 
mortal glory and everlasting remembrance, ended his life in 
Crete, and departed to the gods, and that his sepulchre is in 
Crete, in the town of Gnossus, and that upon it is engraved in 
ancient Greek letters Zankronou, which is Jupiter the son of 
Saturnus. It is plain, therefore, from the things which I have 
related, that he was a man, and reigned on the earth. 

CHAP. XIV. The actions of Saturnus and Uranus taken from 
the historians. 

Let us pass on to former things, that we may discover the 
origin of the whole error. Saturnus is said to have been born 
of Coelus and Terra. This is plainly incredible ; but there is 
a certain reason why it is thus related, and he who is ignorant 
of this rejects it as a fable. That Uranus was the father of 
Saturnus, both Hermes affirms, and sacred history teaches. 
When Trismegistus said that there were very few men of per 
fect learning, he enumerated among them his relatives, Uranus, 
Saturnus, and Mercurius. Euhemerus relates that the same 
Uranus was the first who reigned on earth, using these words : 



W2 LACTANTIUS. 

il In the beginning Coelus first had the chief power on earth : 
he instituted and prepared that kingdom for himself together 
with his brothers." 1 

CHAP. xx.0fthe gods peculiar to the Romans. 

I have spoken of the religious rites which are common to all 
nations. I will now speak of the gods which the Eomans 
have peculiar to themselves. Who does not know that the wife 
of Faustulus, the nurse of Komulus and Remus, in honour of 
whom the Larentinalia were instituted, was a harlot ? And for 
this reason she was called Lupa, and represented in the form 
of a wild beast. Faula also and Flora were harlots, of whom 
the one was the mistress of Hercules, as Verrius relates ; the 
other, having acquired great wealth by her person, made the 
people her heir, and on this account the games called Floralia 
are celebrated in her honour. 

Tatius consecrated the statue of a woman which had been 
found in the principal sewer, and called it by the name of the 
goddess Cloacina. The Eomans, being besieged by the Gauls, 
made engines for throwing weapons of the hair of women ; and 
on this account they erected an altar and temple to Venus 
Calva: 2 also to Jupiter Pistor, 3 because he had advised them in 
a dream to make all their corn into bread, and to throw it upon 
the enemy ; and when this had been done, the Gauls, despair 
ing of being able to reduce the Romans by famine, had aban 
doned the siege. Tullus Hostilius made Fear and Pallor gods. 
Mind is also worshipped; but if they had possessed it, they 
would never, I believe, have thought that it ought to be wor 
shipped. Marcellus originated Honour and Virtue. 

CHAP, xxi. Of the sacred rites of the Roman gods. 
But the senate also instituted other false gods of this kind, 
Hope, Faith, Concord, Peace, Chastity, Piety; all of which, since 
they ought truly to be in the minds of men, they have falsely 
placed within walls. But although these have no substantial 
existence outside of man, nevertheless I should prefer that they 
should be worshipped, rather than Blight or Fever, which ought 
not to be consecrated, but rather to be execrated ; than Fornax, 
together with her sacred ovens ; than Stercutus, who first showed 

1 From this point the manuscripts are defective to ch. xx. 
.. Venus the bald. s ^ Jupiter the baker . 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 103 

men to enrich the ground with manure; than the goddess 
Muta, who brought forth the Lares ; than Cumina, who presides 
over the cradles of infants ; than Caca, who gave information 
to Hercules respecting the stealing of his cattle, that he might 
slay her brother. How many other monstrous and ludicrous 
fictions there are, respecting which it is grievous to speak ! I 
do not, however, wish to omit notice of Terminus, since it is 
related that he did not give way even to Jupiter, though he 
was an unwrought stone. They suppose that he has the custody 
of the boundaries, and public prayers are offered to him, that 
he may keep the stone of the Capitol immoveable, and preserve 
and extend the boundaries of the Roman empire. 

CHAP. xxil. Of the sacred rites introduced ly Faunus 
and Numa. 

Faunus was the first in Latium who introduced these follies, 
who both instituted bloody sacrifices to his grandfather Saturnus, 
and wished that his father Picus should be worshipped as a god, 
and placed Fatua Fauna his wife and sister among the gods, 
and named her the good goddess. Then at Rome, Numa, who 
burthened those rude and rustic men with new superstitions, 
instituted priesthoods, and distributed the gods into families and 
nations, that he might call off the fierce spirits of the people 
from the pursuits of arms. Therefore Lucilius, in deriding the 
folly of those who are slaves to vain superstitions, introduced 
these verses: "Those bugbears 1 the Lamise, which Faunus 
and Numa Pompilius and others instituted, at these he trembles ; 
he places everything in this. As infant boys believe that every 
statue of bronze is a living man, so these imagine that all 
things feigned are true : they believe that statues of bronze con 
tain a heart. It is a painter s 2 gallery ; nothing is real, every 
thing fictitious." Tullius also, writing of the nature of the 
gods, complains that false and fictitious gods have been intro 
duced, and that from this source have arisen false opinions, and 
turbulent errors, and almost old womanly superstitions, which 
opinion ought in comparison 3 with others to be esteemed more 

1 Terriculas. There is another reading, " terricolas." See note at Insti 
tutes, book i. ch. xxii. 

2 See preceding note and reference. 

8 Comparari. Others read " computari." 



104 LACTANTIUS. 

weighty, because these things were spoken by one who was both 
a philosopher and a priest. 

CHAP, xxiii. Of the gods and sacred rites of the barbarians. 

We have spoken respecting the gods : now we will speak of 
the rites and practices of their sacred institutions. A human 
victim used to be immolated to the Cyprian Jupiter, as Teucer 
had appointed. Thus also the Tauri used to offer strangers to 
Diana; the Latian Jupiter also was propitiated with human 
blood. Also before Saturnus, men of sixty years of age, accord 
ing to the oracle 1 of Apollo, were thrown from a bridge into 
the Tiber. And the Carthaginians not only offered infants to 
the same Saturnus; but being conquered by the Sicilians, to 
make an expiation, they immolated two hundred sons of nobles. 
And not more mild than these are those offerings which are 
even now made to the great Mother and to Bellona, in which 
the priests make an offering, not with the blood of others, but 
with their own blood ; when, mutilating themselves, they cease 
to be men, and yet do not pass over to the women ; or, cutting 
their shoulders, they sprinkle the loathsome altars with their 
own blood. But these things are cruel. 

Let us come to those which are mild. The sacred rites of 
Isis show nothing else than the manner in which she lost and 
found her little son, who is called Osiris. For first her priests 
and attendants, having shaved all their limbs, and beating their 
breasts, howl, lament, and search, imitating the manner in 
which his mother was affected ; afterwards the boy is found by 
Cynocephalus. Thus the mournful rites are ended with glad 
ness. The mystery of Ceres also resembles these, in which 
torches are lighted, and Proserpine is sought for through the 
night; and when she has been found, the whole rite is finished 
with congratulations and the throwing about of torches. The 
people of Lampsacus offer an ass to Priapus as an appropriate 
victim. 2 Lindus is a town of Rhodes, where sacred rites in 
honour of Hercules are celebrated with revilings. For when 
Hercules had taken away his oxen from a ploughman, and had 
slain them, he avenged his injury by taunts ; and afterwards 

Ex response. The common reading is "ex persona." 
2 Ea enim visa est aptior victima, quae ipsi, cui mactatur, magnitudine 
virilis obsceni posset sequari. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 105 

having been himself appointed priest, it was ordained that he 
himself, and other priests after him, should celebrate sacrifices 
with the same revilings. But the mystery of the Cretan Jupiter 
represents the manner in which he was withdrawn from his 
father, or brought up. The goat is beside him, by the teats of 
which Amalthea nourished the boy. The sacred rites of the 
mother of the gods also show the same thing. For because the 
Corybantes then drowned the cry of the boy by the tinkling 
of their helmets and the striking of their shields, a representa 
tion of this circumstance is now repeated in the sacred rites ; 
but cymbals are beaten instead of helmets, and drums instead 
of shields, that Saturnus may not hear the cries of the boy. 

CHAP. xxiv. Of the origin of sacred rites and superstitions. 

These are the mysteries of the gods. Now let us inquire 
also into the origin of superstitions, that we may search out by 
whom and at what times they were instituted. Didymus, in 
those books which are inscribed Of the Explanation of Pindar, 
relates that Melisseus was king of the Cretans, whose daughters 
were Amalthea and Melissa, who nourished Jupiter with goats 
milk and honey ; that he introduced new rites and ceremonies 
of sacred things, and was the first who sacrificed to gods, that 
is, to Vesta, who is called Tellus, whence the poet says : 

" And the first of the gods, 
Tellus," 

and afterwards to the mother of the gods. But Euhemerus, in 
his sacred history, says that Jupiter himself, after that he re 
ceived the government, erected temples in honour of himself in 
many places. For in going about the world, as he came to 
each place, he united the chiefs of the people to himself in 
friendship and the right of hospitality ; and that the remem 
brance of this might be preserved, he ordered that temples 
should be built to him, and annual festivals be celebrated by 
those connected with him in a league of hospitality. Thus he 
spread the worship of himself through all lands. But at what 
time they lived can easily be inferred. For Thallus writes in 
his history, that Belus, the king of the Assyrians, whom the 
Babylonians worship, and who was the cotemporary and friend 
of Saturnus, was 322 years before the Trojan war, and it is 



106 LACTANT1US. 

1470 years since the taking of Troy. From which it is evident, 
that it is not more than 1800 years from the time when man 
kind fell into error by the institution of new forms of divine 
worship. 

CHAP. xxv. Of the golden age, of images, and PrometJieus, 
who first fashioned man. 

The poets, therefore, with good reason say that the golden 
age, which existed in the reign of Saturnus, was changed. For 
at that time no gods were worshipped, but they knew of one 
God only. After that they subjected themselves to frail and 
earthly things, worshipping idols of wood, and brass, and stone, 
a change took place from the golden age to that of iron. 
For having lost the knowledge of God, and broken off that one 
bond of human society, they began to harass one another, to 
plunder and subdue. But if they would raise their eyes aloft 
and behold God, who raised them up to the sight of heaven and 
Himself, they never would bend and prostrate themselves by 
worshipping earthly things, whose folly Lucretius severely re 
bukes, saying: 1 "And they abase their souls with fear of the 
gods, and weigh and press them down to the earth." Where 
fore they tremble, 2 and do not understand how foolish it is to 
fear those things which you have made, or to hope for any pro 
tection from those things which are dumb and insensible, and 
neither see nor hear the suppliant. What majesty, therefore, 
or deity can they have, which were in the power of a man, 
that they should not be made, or that they should be made into 
some other thing, and are so even now ? For they are liable 
to injury and might be carried off by theft, were it not that 
they are protected by the law and the guardianship of man. 
Does he therefore appear to be in possession of his senses, who 
sacrifices to such deities the choicest victims, consecrates gifts, 
offers costly garments, as if they who are without motion could 
use them? With reason, then, did Dionysius the tyrant of Sicily 
plunder and deride the gods of Greece when he had taken 
possession of it as conqueror; and after the sacrilegious acts 
which he had committed, he returned to Sicily with a prosperous 

1 De Nat. Deor. vi. 52. 

I ir Q uf 6 treumnt " Another reading is, qua *eddunt, which is un 
intelligible. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 107 

voyage, and held the kingdom even to his old age : nor were 
the injured gods able to punish him. 

How much better is it to despise vanities, and to turn to God, 
to maintain the condition which you have received from God, 
to maintain your name ! For on this account he is called 
antliropos^ because he looks upward. But he looks upward 
who looks up to the true and living God, who is in heaven ; who 
seeks after the Maker and Parent of his soul, not only with his 
perception and mind, but also with his countenance and eyes 
raised aloft. But he who enslaves himself to earthly and 
humble things, plainly prefers to himself that which is below 
him. For since he himself is the workmanship of God, whereas 
an image is the workmanship of man, the human workmanship 
cannot be preferred to the divine ; and as God is the parent of 
man, so is the man of the statue. Therefore he is foolish and 
senseless who adores that which he himself has made, of which 
detestable and foolish handicraft Prometheus was the author, 
who was born from lapetus the uncle of Jupiter. For when 
first of all Jupiter, having obtained supreme dominion, wished 
to establish himself as a god, and to found temples, and was 
seeking for some one who was able to imitate the human figure, 
at that time Prometheus lived, who fashioned the image of a 
man from thick clay with such close resemblance, that the 
novelty and cleverness of the art was a wonder. At length the 
men of his own time, and afterwards the poets, handed him 
down as the maker of a true and living man ; and we, as often 
as we praise wrought statues, say that they live and breathe. 
And he indeed was the inventor of earthenware images. But 
posterity, following him, both carved them out of marble, and 
moulded them out of bronze ; then in process of time ornament 
was added of gold and ivory, so that not only the likenesses, 
but also the gleam itself, might dazzle the eyes. Thus ensnared 
by beauty, and forgetful of true majesty, sensible beings con 
sidered that insensible objects, rational beings that irrational 
objects, living beings that lifeless objects, were to be worshipped 
and reverenced by them. 



;, man ; said to be compounded of oivu, Tpexa, and u-fy, to turn 
the face upwards. 



108 LACTANT1US. 

CHAP. xxvi. Of the worship of the elements and stars. 
Now let us refute those also who regard the elements of the 
world as gods, that is, the heaven, the sun, and the moon ; for 
being ignorant of the Maker of these things, they admire and 
adore the works themselves. And this error belongs not to the 
icrnorant only, but also to philosophers; since the Stoics are of 
opinion that all the heavenly bodies are to be considered as 
among the number of the gods, since they all have fixed and 
regular motions, by which they most constantly preserve the 
vicissitudes of the times which succeed them. They do not 
then possess voluntary motion, since they obey prescribed laws, 
and plainly not by their own sense, but by the workmanship of 
the supreme Creator, who so ordered them that they should 
complete unerring 1 courses and fixed circuits, by which they 
might vary the alternations of days and nights, of summer and 
winter. But if men admire the effects of these, if they admire 
their courses, their brightness, their regularity, their beauty, 
they ought to have understood how much more beautiful, more 
illustrious, and more powerful than these is the maker and 
contriver Himself, even God. But they estimated the Divinity 
by objects which fall under the sight of men ; 2 not knowing that 
objects which come within the sight cannot be eternal, and that 
those which are eternal cannot be discerned by mortal eyes. 

CHAP, xxvii. Of the creation, sin, and punishment of man ; 
and of angels, both good and bad. 

One subject remains, and that the last : that, since it usually 
happens, as we read in histories, that the gods appear to have 
displayed their majesty by auguries, by dreams, by oracles, and 
also by the punishments of those who had committed sacrilege, 
I may show what cause produced this effect, so that no one even 
now may fall into the same snares into which those of old fell. 
When God, according to His excellent majesty, had framed the 
world out of nothing, and had decked the heaven with lights, 
and had filled the earth and the sea with living creatures, then 
He formed man out of clay, and fashioned him after the resem 
blance of His own likeness, and breathed into him that he 

" Inerrabiles." There is another reading, " iuenarrabiles," indescribable. 
8 " Humanis visibus." 






EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 109 

might live, 1 and placed him in a garden 2 which He had planted 
with every kind of fruit-bearing tree, and commanded him not 
to eat of one tree in which He had placed the knowledge of 
good and evil, warning him that it would come to pass, that if 
he did so he would lose his life, but that if he observed the 
command of God he would remain immortal. Then the 
serpent, who was one of the servants of God, envying man 
because he was made immortal, enticed him by stratagem to 
transgress the command and law of God. And in this manner 
he did indeed receive the knowledge of good and evil, but he 
lost the life which God had given him to be for ever. 

Therefore He drove out the sinner from the sacred place, 
and banished him into this world, that he might seek sustenance 
by labour, that he might according to his deserts undergo diffi 
culties and troubles ; and He surrounded the garden itself with 
a fence of fire, that none of men even till the day of judgment 
might attempt secretly 3 to enter into that place of perpetual 
blessedness. Then death came upon man according to the 
sentence of God ; and yet his life, though it had begun to be 
temporary, had as its boundary a thousand years, and -that was 
the extent of human life even to the deluge. For after the 
flood the life of men was gradually shortened, and was reduced 
to 120 years. But that serpent, who from his deeds received 
the name of devil, that is, accuser or informer, did not cease to 
persecute the seed of man, whom he had deceived from the 
beginning. At length he urged him who was first born in this 
world, under the impulse of envy, to the murder of his brother, 
that of the two men who were first born he might destroy the 
one, and make the other a parricide.* Nor did he cease upon 
this from infusing the venom of malice into the breasts of men 
through each generation, from corrupting and depraving them ; 
in short, from overwhelming them with such crimes, that an 
instance of justice was now rare, but men lived after the 
manner of the beasts. 

But when God saw this, He sent His angels to instruct the 
race of men, and to protect them from all evil. He gave these 
a command to abstain from earthly things, lest, being polluted 

1 " Inspiravit ad vitam." 2 " Paradise." 3 " Irrepere." 

" Parricidam." The word first means the murderer of a parent or near 
relative ; then simply a murderer. 



HO LACTANTIUS. 

by any taint, they should be deprived of the honour of angels. 
But that wily accuser, while they tarried among men, allured 
these also to pleasures, so that they might defile themselves 
with women. Then, being condemned by the sentence of God, 
and cast forth on account of their sins, they lost both the name 
and substance of angels. Thus, having become ministers of the 
devil, that they might have a solace of their ruin, they betook 
themselves to the ruining of men, for whose protection they 
had come. 

CHAP, xxviii. Of the demons, and their evil practices. 

These are the demons, of whom the poets often speak in their 
poems, whom Hesiod calls the guardians of men. For they so 
persuaded men by their enticements and deceits, that they be 
lieved that the same were gods. In fine, Socrates used to give 
out that he had a demon as the guardian and director of his life 
from his first childhood, and that he could do nothing without 
his assent and command. They attach themselves, therefore, 
to individuals, and occupy houses under the name of Genii or 
Penates. To these temples are built, to these libations are 
daily offered as to the Lares, to these honour is paid as to the 
averters of evils. These from the beginning, that they might 
turn away men from the knowledge of the true God, introduced 
new superstitions and worship of gods. These taught that the 
memory of dead kings should be consecrated, temples be built, 
and images made, not that they might lessen the honour of 
God, or increase their own, which they lost by sinning, but that 
they might take away life from men, deprive them of the hope 
of true light, lest men should arrive at that heavenly reward of 
immortality from which they fell. They also brought to light 
astrology, and augury, and divination ; and though these things 
are in themselves false, yet they themselves, the authors of 
evils, so govern and regulate them that they are believed to be 
true. They also invented the tricks of the magic art, to deceive 
the eyes. By their aid it comes to pass, that that which is 
appears not to be, and that which is not appears to be. They 
themselves invented necromancies, responses, and oracles, to 
delude the minds of men with lying divination by means of 
ambiguous issues. They are present in the temples and at all 
sacrifices ; and by the exhibition of some deceitful prodigies, to 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. Ill 

the surprise of those who are present, they so deceive men, that 
they believe that a divine power is present in images and statues. 
They even enter secretly into bodies, as being slight spirits ; and 
they excite diseases in the vitiated limbs, which when appeased 
with sacrifices and vows they may again remove. They send 
dreams either full of terror, 1 that they themselves may be. in 
voked, or the issues of which may correspond with the truth, 
that they may increase the veneration paid to themselves. 
Sometimes also they put forth something of vengeance against 
the sacrilegious, that whoever sees it may become more timid 
and superstitious. Thus by their frauds they have drawn dark 
ness over the human race, that truth might be oppressed, and 
the name of the supreme and matchless God might be forgotten. 

CHAP. xxix. Of the patience and providence of God. 

But some one says : Why, then, does the true God permit 
these things to be done? Why does He not rather remove 
or destroy the wicked 1 Why, in truth, did He from the 
beginning give power 2 to the demon, so that there should be 
one who might corrupt, and destroy all things ? I will briefly 
say why He willed that this should be so. I ask whether 
virtue is a good or an evil. It cannot be denied that it is a 
good. If virtue is a good, vice, on the contrary, is an evil. If 
vice is an evil on this account, because it opposes virtue, and 
virtue is on this account a good, because it overthrows vice, it 
follows that virtue cannot exist without vice ; and if you take 
away vice, the merits of virtue will be taken away. For there 
can be no victory without an enemy. Thus it comes to pass, 
that good cannot exist without an evil. 

Chrysippus, a man of active mind, saw this when discussing 
the subject of providence, and charges those with folly who think 
that good is caused by God, but say that evil is not thus caused. 
Aulus Gellius 3 has interpreted his sentiment in his books of 
Attic Nights ; thus saying : " They to whom it does not appear 
that the world was made for the sake of God and men, and 
that human affairs are governed by providence, think that they 
use a weighty argument when they thus speak : If there were a 

1 " Plena terroris." Another reading is, " aut plane terrores." 

2 dpxfa. Others read faipanetpxietv, " the power of demons." 
8 Lib. vi. 1. 



112 LACTANT1US. 

providence, there would be no evils. For they say that nothing 
is less in agreement with providence, than that in this world, on 
account of which it is said that God made men, 1 the power of 
troubles and evils should be so great. In reply to these things, 
Chrysippus, when he was arguing, in his fourth book respecting 
providence, said : Nothing can be more foolish than those who 
think that good things could have existed, if there were not evils 
in the same place. For since good things are contrary to evil, 
they must of necessity be opposed to each other, and must stand 
resting, as it were, on mutual and opposite support. 2 Thus there 
is no contrary without another contrary. For how could there 
be any perception of justice, unless there were injuries ? or what 
else is justice, but the removal of injustice ? In like manner, 
the nature of fortitude cannot be understood except by placing 3 
beside it cowardice, or the nature of self-control except by in 
temperance. Likewise, in what manner would there be pru 
dence, unless there were the contrary, imprudence ? On the 
same principle, he says, why do the foolish men not require this 
also, that there should be truth and not falsehood? For there 
exist together good and evil things, prosperity and trouble, 
pleasure and pain. For the one being bound to the other at 
opposite poles, as Plato says, if you take away one, you take 
away both." You see, therefore, that which I have often said, 
that good and evil are so connected with one another, that the 
one cannot exist without the other. Therefore God acted with 
the greatest foresight in placing the subject-matter of virtue in 
evils which He made for this purpose, that He might establish 
for us a contest, in which He would crown the victorious with 
the reward of immortality. 

CHAP, xxx. Of false wisdom. 

I have taught, as I imagine, that the honours paid to gods are 
not only impious, but also vain, either because they were men 
whose memory was consecrated after death ; or because the 
images themselves are insensible and deaf, inasmuch as they 
are formed of earth, and that it is not right for man, who ought 

"Propter quern homines fecisse dicatur Deus." Others read, " Quein 
propter homines," etc. 

" Quasi mutuo adversoque fulta nisu consistere." 
" Appositione." Others read " oppositione." 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 113 

to look up to heavenly things, to subject himself to earthly 
things ; or because the spirits who claim to themselves those 
acts of religious service are unholy and impure, and on this 
account, being condemned by the sentence of God, fell to the 
earth, and that it is not lawful to submit to the power of those 
to whom you are superior, if you wish to be a follower of the 
true God. It remains that, as we have spoken of false religion, 
we should also discuss the subject of false wisdom, which the 
philosophers profess, men endued with the greatest learning and 
eloquence, but far removed from the truth, because they neither 
know God nor the wisdom of God. And although they are 
clever and learned, yet, because their wisdom is human, I shall not 
fear to contend with them, that it may be evident that falsehood 
can be easily overcome by truth, and earthly things by heavenly. 
They thus define the nature of philosophy. Philosophy is 
the love or pursuit of wisdom. Therefore it is not wisdom 
itself; for that which loves must be different from that which 
is loved. If it is the pursuit of wisdom, not even thus is 
philosophy (identical with) wisdom. For wisdom is the object 
itself which is sought, but the pursuit is that which seeks it. 
Therefore the very definition or meaning of the word plainly 
shows that philosophy is not wisdom itself. I will say that it 
(philosophy) is not even the pursuit of wisdom, in which wisdom 
is not comprised. For who can be said to devote himself to the 
pursuit of that to which he can by no means attain ? He who 
gives himself to the pursuit of medicine, or grammar, or oratory, 
may be said to be studious of that art which he is learning ; but 
when he has learned, he is now said to be a physician, a gram 
marian, or an orator. Thus also those who are studious of 
wisdom, after they had learned it, ought to have been called wise. 
But since they are called students of wisdom as long as they 
live, it is manifest that that is not the pursuit, because it is im 
possible to arrive at the object itself which is sought for in the 
pursuit, unless by chance they who pursue wisdom even to the 
end of life are about to be wise in another world. Now every 
pursuit is connected with some end. That, therefore, is not 
a right pursuit which has no end. 

CHAP. xxxi. Of knowledge and supposition. 
Moreover, there are two things which appear to fall under 

LACT. VOL. II. H 



114 LACTANTIUS. 

the subject of philosophy knowledge and supposition ; and if 
these are taken away, philosophy altogether falls to the ground. 
But the chief of the philosophers themselves have taken away 
both from philosophy. Socrates took away knowledge, Zeno 
supposition. Let us see whether they were right in doing so. 
Wisdom is, as Cicero defined it, 1 the knowledge of divine and 
human things. Now if this definition is true, wisdom does not 
come within the power of man. For who of mortals can assume 
this to himself, to profess that he knows divine and human 
things ? I say nothing of human affairs ; for although they 
are connected with divine, yet, since they belong to man, let 
us grant that it is possible for man to know them. Certainly 
he cannot know divine things by himself, since he is a man ; 
whereas he who knows them must be divine, and therefore God. 
But man is neither divine nor God. Man, therefore, cannot 
thoroughly know divine things by himself. No one, therefore, 
is wise but God, or certainly that man whom God has taught. 
But they, because they are neither gods, nor taught by God, 
cannot be wise, that is, acquainted with divine and human 
things. Knowledge, therefore, is rightly taken away by 
Socrates and the Academics. Supposition also does not agree 
with the wise man. For every one supposes that of which he 
is ignorant. Now, to suppose that you know that of which 
you are ignorant, is rashness and folly. Supposition, therefore, 
was rightly taken away by Zeno. If, therefore, there is no 
knowledge in man, and there ought to be no supposition, philo 
sophy is cut up by the roots. 

CHAP, xxxii. Of the sects of philosophers, and their 

disagreement. 

To this is added, that it 2 is not uniform ; but being divided into 
sects, and scattered into many and discordant opinions, it has no 
fixed state. For since they all separately attack and harass one 
another, and there is none of them which is not condemned of 
folly in the judgment of the rest, while the members are plainly 
at variance with one another, the whole body of philosophy is 
brought to destruction. Hence the Academy afterwards origi 
nated. For when the leading men of that sect saw that philo 
sophy was altogether overthrown by philosophers mutually 
.2. philosophy. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 115 

opposing each other, they undertook war against all, that they 
might destroy all the arguments of all ; while they themselves 
assert nothing except one thing that nothing can be known. 
Thus, having taken away knowledge, they overthrew the ancient 
philosophy. But they did not even themselves retain the name 
of philosophers, since they admitted their ignorance, because to 
be ignorant of all things is not only not the part of a philosopher, 
but not even of a man. Thus the philosophers, because they 
have no defence, must destroy one another with mutual wounds, 
and philosophy itself must altogether consume and put an end 
to itself by its own arms. But they say it is only natural 
philosophy which thus gives way. How is it with moral ? 
Does that rest on any firm foundation ? Let us see whether 
philosophers are agreed in this part at any rate, which relates 
to the condition of life. 

CHAP, xxxiii. What is the chief good to be sought in life. 

What is the chief good must be an object of inquiry, that our 
whole life and actions may be directed to it. When inquiry is 
made respecting the chief good of man, it ought to be settled 
to be of such a kind, first, that it have reference to man alone ; 
in the next place, that it belong peculiarly to the mind ; lastly, 
that it be sought by virtue. Let us see, therefore, whether the 
chief good which the philosophers mark out be such that it has 
reference neither to a dumb animal nor to the body, and cannot 
be attained without virtue. 

Aristippus, the founder of the Cyrenaic sect, who thought 
that bodily pleasure was the chief good, ought to be removed 
from the number of philosophers, and from the society of men, 
because he compared himself to a beast. The chief good of 
Hieronymus is to be without pain, that of Diodorus to cease to 
be in pain. But the other animals avoid pain ; and when they 
are without pain, or cease to be in pain, are glad. What dis 
tinction, then, will be given to man, if his chief good is judged 
to be common with the beasts ? Zeno thought that the chief 
good was to live agreeably to nature. But this definition is a 
general one. For all animals live agreeably to nature, and 
each has its own nature. 

Epicurus maintained that it was pleasure of the soul. What 
is pleasure of the soul but joy, in which the soul for the most 



1]6 LACTANTIUS. 

part luxuriates, and unbends itself either to sport or to languter ? 
But this good befalls even dumb animals, which, when they are 
satisfied with pasture, relax themselves to joy and wantonness. 
Dinomachus and Callipho approved of honourable pleasure ; but 
they either said the same that Epicurus did, that bodily pleasure 
is dishonourable ; or if they considered bodily pleasures to be 
partly base and partly honourable, then that is not the chief 
good which is ascribed to the body. The Peripatetics make up 
the chief good of goods of the soul, and body, and fortune. 
The goods of the soul may be approved of ; but if they require 
assistance for the completion of happiness, they are plainly weak. 
But the goods of the body and of fortune are not in the power 
of man ; nor is that now the chief good which is assigned to the 
body, or to things placed without us, because this double good 
extends even to the cattle, which have need of being well, and 
of a due supply of food. The Stoics are believed to have 
entertained much better views, who said that virtue was the 
chief good. But virtue cannot be the chief good, since, if it is 
the endurance of evils and of labours, it is not happy of itself ; 
"but it ought to effect and produce the chief good, because it 
cannot be attained without the greatest difficulty and labour. 
But, in truth, Aristotle wandered far from reason, who con 
nected honour with virtue, as though it were possible for virtue 
at any time to be separated from honour, or to be united with 
baseness. 

Herillus the Pyrrhonist made knowledge the chief good. 
This indeed belongs to man, and to the soul only, but it may 
happen to him without virtue. For he is not to be considered 
happy who has either learnt anything by hearing, or has gained 
the knowledge of it. by a little reading; nor is it a definition of 
the chief good, because there may be a knowledge either of bad 
tilings, or at any rate of things that are useless. And if it is 
the knowledge of good and useful things which you have ac 
quired by labour, nevertheless it is not the chief good, because 
knowledge is not sought on its own account, but on account of 
something else. For the arts are learnt on this account, that 
they may be to us the means of gaining support, or a source of 
glory, or even of pleasure ; and it is plain that these things 
cannot be the chief goods. Therefore the philosophers do not 
observe the rule even in moral philosophy, inasmuch as they 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 117 

are at variance with one another on the main point l itself, that 
is, in that discussion by which the life is moulded. For the 
precepts cannot be equal, or resembling one another, when 
some train men to pleasure, others to honour, others indeed to 
nature, others to knowledge ; some to the pursuit, others to the 
avoiding of riches ; some to entire insensibility to pain, others to 
the endurance of evils : in all which, as I have shown before, 
they turn aside from reason, because they are ignorant of God. 

CHAP, xxxiv. That men are lorn to justice. 

Let us now see what is proposed to the wise man as the chief 
good. 2 That men are born to justice is not only taught by the 
sacred writings, but is sometimes acknowledged even by these 
same philosophers. Thus Cicero says: "But of all things 
which fall under the discussion of learned men, nothing assuredly 
is more excellent than that it should be clearly understood that 
we are born to justice." This is most true. For we are not 
born to wickedness, since we are a social and sociable animal. 
The wild beasts are produced to exercise their fierceness ; for 
they are unable to live in any other way than by prey and 
bloodshed. These, however, although pressed by extreme hunger, 
nevertheless refrain from animals of their own kind. Birds 
also do the same, which must feed upon the carcases of others. 
How much more is it befitting, that man, who is united with 
man both in the interchange of language and in communion 
of feeling, should spare man, and love him ! For this is justice. 

But since wisdom has been given to man alone, that he may 
understand God, and this alone makes the difference between 
man and; the dumb animals, justice itself is bound up in two 
duties. He owes the one to God as to a father, the other to 
man as to a brother ; for we are produced by the same God. 
Therefore it has been deservedly and rightly said, that wisdom 
is the knowledge of divine and human affairs. For it is right 
that we should know what we owe to God, and what to man ; 
namely, to God religion, to man affection. But the former 
belongs to wisdom, the latter to virtue ; and justice comprises 
both. If, therefore, it is evident that man is born to justice, it 

1 " In ipso cardine." 

2 Some editions repeat the words "summum bonum," but these words 
appear to obstruct the sense. 



118 LACTANTIUS. 

is necessary that the just man should be subject to evils, that 
he may exercise the virtue with which lie is endued. For 
virtue is the enduring of evils. He will avoid pleasures as 
an evil : he will despise riches, because they are frail ; and if 
he has them, he will liberally bestow them, to preserve the 
wretched: he will not be desirous of honours, because they 
are short and transitory ; he will do injury to no one ; if he 
shall suffer, he will not retaliate ; and he will not take venge 
ance upon one who plunders his property. For he will deem 
it unlawful to injure a man ; and if there shall be any one 
who would compel him to depart from God, he will not refuse 
tortures nor death. Thus it will come to pass, that he must 
necessarily live in poverty and lowliness, and in insults, or 
even tortures. 

CHAP. xxxv. That immortality is the chief good. 

What, then, will be the advantage of justice and virtue, if they 
shall have nothing but evil in life ? But if virtue, which de 
spises all earthly goods, most wisely endures all evils, and en 
dures death itself in the discharge of duty, cannot be without a 
reward, what remains but that immortality alone is its reward I 
For if a happy life falls to the lot of man, as the philosophers 
will have it, and in this point alone they do not disagree, there 
fore also immortality falls to him. For that only is happy 
which is incorruptible; that only is incorruptible which is 
eternal. Therefore immortality is the chief good, because it 
belongs both to man, and to the soul, and to virtue. We are 
only directed to this ; we are born to the attainment of this. 
Therefore God proposes to us virtue and justice, that we may 
obtain that eternal reward for our labours. But concerning 
that immortality 1 itself we will speak in the proper place. 
There remains the philosophy of Logic, 2 which contributes 
nothing to a happy life. For wisdom does not consist in the 
arrangement of speech, but in the heart and the feeling. But 
if natural philosophy is superfluous, and this of logic, and the 
philosophers have erred in moral philosophy, which alone is 
necessary, because they have been unable in any way to find 

1 "Nonmortalitate." 

" hoyix.-/! philosophia." Under this is included everything connected 
with the system of speaking. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 119 

out the chief good; therefore all philosophy is found to be 
empty and useless, which was unable to comprehend the nature 
of man, or to fulfil its duty and office. 

CHAP, xxxvi. Of the philosophers) namely, Epicurus 
and Pythagoras. 

Since I have spoken briefly of philosophy, now also I will 
speak a few things about the philosophers. This is especially the 
doctrine of Epicurus, that there is no providence. And at the 
same time he does not deny the existence of gods. In both 
respects he acts contrary to reason. For if there are gods, it 
follows that there is a providence. For otherwise we can form 
no intelligible idea of God, for it is His peculiar province 
to foresee. 1 But Epicurus says He takes no care about any 
thing. Therefore He disregards not only the affairs of men, but 
also heavenly things. How, therefore, or from what, do you 
affirm that He exists? For when you have taken away the 
divine providence and care, it would naturally follow that you 
should altogether deny the existence of God ; whereas now you 
have left Him in name, but in reality you have taken Him away. 
Whence, then, did the world derive its origin, if God takes no 
care of anything? There are, he says, minute atoms, which can 
neither be seen nor touched, and from the fortuitous meeting 
of these all things arose, and are continually arising. If they 
are neither seen nor perceived by any part of the body, how 
could you know of their existence ? In the next place, if they 
exist, with what mind do they meet together to effect anything? 
If they are smooth, they cannot cohere : if they are hooked and 
angular, then they are divisible ; for hooks and angles project, 
and can be cut off. But these things are senseless and unprofit 
able. Why should I mention that he also makes souls capable 
of extinction ? who is refuted not only by all philosophers and 
general persuasion, but also by the answers of bards, by the pre 
dictions of the Sibyls, and lastly, by the divine voices of the 
prophets themselves; so that it is wonderful that Epicurus alone 
existed, who should place the condition of man on a level with 
the flocks and beasts. 

What of Pythagoras, who was first called a philosopher, 
who judged that souls were indeed immortal, but that they 
1 Providere." 



120 LACTANT1US. 

passed into other bodies, either of cattle, or of birds, or of 
beasts 1 Would it not have been better that they should be 
destroyed, together with their bodies, than thus to be con 
demned to pass into the bodies of other animals ? Would it 
not be better not to exist at all, than, after having had the form 
of a man, to live as a swine or a dog ? And the foolish man, 
to gain credit for his saying, said that he himself had been 
Euphorbus in the Trojan war, and that, when he had been 
slain, he passed into other figures of animals, and at last became 
Pythagoras. O happy man ! to whom alone so great a memory 
was given; or rather unhappy, who, when changed into a 
sheep, was not permitted to be ignorant of what he was ! And 
would to Heaven that he alone had been thus senseless ! He 
found also some to believe him, and some indeed among the 
learned, 1 to whom the inheritance of folly passed. 

CHAP, xxxvu. Of Socrates and his contradiction. 

After him Socrates held the first place in philosophy, who 
was pronounced most wise even by the oracle, because he con 
fessed that he knew one thing only, namely, that he knew 
nothing. And on the authority of this oracle it was right that 
the natural philosophers should restrain themselves, lest they 
should either inquire into those things which they could not know, 
or should think that they knew things which they did not know. 
Let us, however, see whether Socrates was niost wise, as the 
Pythian god proclaimed. He often made use of this proverb, 
that that which is above us has also no reference to us. He 
has now passed beyond the limits of his opinion. For he who 
said that he knew one thing only, found another thing to speak 
of, as though he knew it ; but that in vain. For God, who is 
plainly above us, is to be sought for ; and religion is to be under 
taken, which alone separates us from the brutes, which indeed 
Socrates not only rejected, but even derided, in swearing by 
a goose and a dog, as if in truth he could not have sworn by 
-5sculapius, to whom he had vowed a cock. Behold the sacri 
fice of a wise man ! And because he was unable to offer this in 
his own person, since he was at the point of death, he entreated 
his friends to perform the vow after his death, lest forsooth 

"Inter doctos homines." Others read "iudoctos homines," but this 
does not convey so good a meaning. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 121 

he should be detained as a debtor in the lower regions. He 
assuredly both pronounced that he knew nothing, and made 
good his statement. 

CHAP, xxxviu. Of Plato , ivJiose doctrine approaches more 
nearly to the truth. 

His disciple Plato, whom Tully speaks of as the god of 
philosophers, alone of all so studied philosophy that he ap 
proached nearer to the truth ; and yet, because he was igno 
rant of God, he so failed in many things, that no one fell 
into worse errors, especially because in his books respecting 
the state he wished all things to be common to all. This is 
endurable concerning property, though it is unjust. For it 
ought not to be an injury to any one, if he possesses more 
than another through his own industry ; or to be a profit to 
any one, if through his own fault he possesses less. But, as 
I have said, this is capable of being endured in some way. 
Shall there be a community of wives also, and of children? 
Shall there be no distinction of blood, or certainty of race ? 
Shall there be neither families, nor relationships, nor affinities, 
but all things confused and indiscriminate, as in herds of cattle ? 
Shall there be no self-restraint in men, no chastity in women ? 
What conjugal affection can there be in these, between whom 
on either side there is no sure or peculiar 1 love ? Who will be 
dutiful towards a father, when he knows not from whom he 
was born ? Who will love a son, whom he will reckon as not 
his own? 2 Moreover, he opened 3 the senate house to women, 
and entrusted to them warfare, magistracies, and commands. 
But how great will be the calamity of that city, in which women 
shall discharge the duties of men ! But of this more fully at 
another opportunity. 

Zeno, the master of the Stoics, who praises virtue, judged 
that pity, which is a very great virtue, should be cut away, as 
though it were a disease of the mind, whereas it is at the same 
time dear to God and necessary for men. For who is there 
who, when placed in any evil, would be unwilling to be pitied, 
and would not desire the assistance of those who might succour 
them, which is not called forth so as to render aid, except by 

1 " Proprius." 2 " Alienum." 

3 " Reseravit." Others read " reservavit." 



122 LACTANT1US. 

the feeling of pity? Although he calls this humanity and piety, 
he does not change the matter itself, only the name. This 
is the affection which has been given to man alone, that by 
mutual assistance we might alleviate our weakness ; and he 
who removes this affection reduces us to the life of the beasts. 
For his assertion that all faults are equal, proceeds from that 
inhumanity with which also he assails pity as a disease. For 
he who makes no difference in faults, either thinks that light 
offences ought to be visited with severe punishments, which is 
the part of a cruel judge, or that great offences should be visited 
with slight punishments, which is the part of a worthless judge. 
In either case there is injury to the state. For if the greatest 
crimes are lightly punished, the boldness of the wicked will 
increase, and go on to deeds of greater daring ; and if a punish 
ment of too great severity is inflicted for slight offences, inas 
much as no one can be exempt from fault, many citizens will 
incur peril, who by correction might become better. 

CHAP, xxxix. Of various pldlosopliers, and of the 
antipodes. 

These things, truly, are of small importance, but they arise 
from the same falsehood. Xenophanes said that the orb of the 
moon is eighteen times larger than this earth of ours; and 
that within its compass is contained another earth, which is 
inhabited by men and animals of every kind. About the anti 
podes also one can neither hear nor speak without laughter. 
It is asserted as something serious, that we should believe that 
there are men who have their feet opposite to ours. The 
ravings of Anaxagoras are more tolerable, who said that snow 
was black. And not only the sayings, but the deeds, of some 
are ridiculous. Democritus neglected his land which was left 
to him by his father, and suffered it to become a public pasture. 
Diogenes with his company of dogs, 1 who professes that great 
and perfect virtue in the contempt of all things, preferred to 
beg for his support, rather than to seek it by honest labour, or 
to have any property. Undoubtedly the life of a wise man ought 
to be to others an example of living. If all should imitate the 
wisdom of these, how will states exist ? But perhaps the same 
Cynics were able to afford an example of modesty, who lived 
1 i.e. the Cynics. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 123 

with their wives in public. I know not how they could defend 
virtue, who took away modesty. 

Nor was Aristippus better than these, who, I believe, that 
he might please his mistress Lais, instituted the Cyrenaic 
system, by which he placed the end of the chief good in bodily 
pleasure, that authority might not be wanting to his faults, or 
learning to his vices. Are those men of greater fortitude to 
be more approved, who, that they might be said to have despised 
death, died by their own hands ? Zeno, Empedocles, Chrysip- 
pus, Cleanthes, Democritus, and Cato, imitating these, did not 
know that he who put himself to death is guilty of murder, 
according to the divine ri^ht and law. For it was God who 

O O 

placed us in this abode of flesh : it was He who gave us the 
temporary habitation of the body, that we should inhabit it as 
long as He pleased. Therefore it is to be considered impious, 
to wish to depart from it without the command of God. There 
fore violence must not be applied to nature. He knows how 
to destroy l His own work. And if any one shall apply impious 
hands to that work, and shall tear asunder the bonds of the 
divine workmanship, he endeavours to flee from God, whose 
sentence no one will be able to escape, whether alive or dead. 
Therefore they are accursed and impious, whom I have men 
tioned above, who even taught what are the befitting reasons 
for voluntary death; so that it was not enough of guilt that 
they were self-murderers, unless they instructed others also to 
this wickedness. 

CHAP. XL. Of the foolishness of the philosophers. 

There are innumerable sayings and doings of the philoso 
phers, by which their foolishness may be shown. Therefore, 
since we are unable to enumerate them all, a few will be suffi 
cient. It is enough that it is understood that the philosophers 
were neither teachers of justice, of which they were ignorant, 
nor of virtue, of which they falsely boast. For what can they 
teach, who often confess their own ignorance ? I omit to men 
tion Socrates, whose opinion is well known. Anaxagoras pro 
claims that all things are overspread with darkness. Empe 
docles says that the paths for finding out the truth of the senses 
are narrow. Democritus asserts that truth lies sunk in a deep 
1 "Eesolvat." 



124 LACTANTIUS. 

well ; and because they nowhere find it, they therefore affirm 
that no wise man has as yet existed. Since, therefore, human 
wisdom has no existence (Socrates says in the writings of 
Plato), let us follow that which is divine, and let us give 
thanks to God, who has revealed and delivered it to us ; and let 
us congratulate ourselves, that through the divine bounty we 
possess the truth and wisdom, which, though sought by so many 
intellects through so many ages, philosophy l was not able to 
discover. 

CHAP. XLT. Of true religion and wisdom. 

Now, since we have refuted false religion, which is in the 
worship of the gods, and false wisdom, which is in the philoso 
phers, let us come to true religion and wisdom. And, indeed, 
we must speak of them both conjointly, because they are closely 
connected. For to worship the true God, that and nothing 
else is wisdom. For that God who is supreme and the Maker 
of all things, who made man as the image of Himself, on this 
account conferred on him alone of all animals the gift of 
reason, that he might pay back honour to Him as his Father 
and his Lord, and by the exercise of this piety and obedience 
might gain the reward of immortality. This is a true and 
divine mystery. But among those, 2 because they are not true, 
there is no agreement. Neither are sacred rites performed 
in philosophy, nor is philosophy treated of in sacred things ; 
and on this account their religion is false, because it does not 
possess wisdom ; and on this account their wisdom is false, be 
cause it does not possess religion. But where both are joined 
together, there the truth must necessarily be ; so that if it is 
asked what the truth itself is, it may be rightly said to be 
either wise religion or religious wisdom. 

CHAP. XLII. Of religious wisdom : the name of Christ known 
to none, except Himself and His Father. 

1 will now say what wise religion, or religious wisdom, is. 
God, in the beginning, before He made the world, from the 
fountain of His own eternity, and from the divine and ever- 

" Philosophia non potuit invenire." Other editions have, "philoso- 
phiam nemo potuit invenire." 

2 i.e. the philosophers before mentioned. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 125 

lasting spirit, begat for Himself a Son incorruptible, faithful, 
corresponding to His Father s excellence and majesty. He is 
virtue. He is reason, He is the word of God, He is wisdom. 
With this artificer, as Hermes says, and counsellor, as the Sibyl 
says, He contrived the excellent and wondrous fabric of this 
world. In fine, of all the angels, whom the same God formed 
from His own breath, 1 He alone was admitted into a participa 
tion of His supreme power, He alone was called God. For all 
things were through Him, and nothing was without Him. In 
fine, Plato, not altogether as a philosopher, but as a seer, spoke 
concerning the first and second God, perhaps following Tris- 
megistus in this, whose words I have translated from the Greek, 
and subjoined : "The Lord and Maker of all things, whom we 
have thought to be called God, created a second God, who is 
visible and sensible. But by sensible I mean, not that He Him 
self receives sensation, but that He causes sensation and sight. 
When, therefore, He had made this, the first, and one, and only 
one, He appeared to Him most excellent, and full of all good 
qualities." The Sibyl also says that God the guide of all was 
made by God ; and another, that " God the Son of God must 
be known," as those examples which I have brought forward in 
my books declare. Him the prophets, filled with the inspira 
tion of the Divine Spirit, proclaimed ; of whom especially 
Solomon in the book of Wisdom, and also his father, the 
writer of divine hymns both most renowned kings, who pre 
ceded the times of the Trojan war by 180 years 2 testify that 
He was born of God. His name is known to none, except to 
Himself and the Father, as John teaches in the Revelation. 3 
Hermes says that His name cannot be uttered by mortal mouth. 
Yet by men He is called by two names Jesus, which is 
Saviour, and Christ, which is King. He is called Saviour on 
this account, because He is the health and safety of all who 
believe in God through Him. He is called Christ on this 
account, because He Himself will come from heaven at the 
end of this dispensation 4 to judge the world, and, having raised 
the dead, to establish for Himself an everlasting kingdom. 

1 " De suis spiritibus." 

2 This is an error. Both David and Solomon lived after the supposed 
taking of Troy. 

3 Rev. xix. 12. ~ " In sDeculi hujus consummatione." 



12 6 LACTANTIUS. 

CHAP. XLIII. Of the name of Jesus Christ, and His twofold 
nativity. 

But lest by any chance there should be any doubt in your 
mind why we call Him Jesus Christ, who was born of God 
before the world, and who was born of man 300 years ago, I 
will briefly explain to you the reason. The same person is the 
son of God and of man. For He was twice born : first of 
God in the spirit before the origin of the world ; afterwards in 
the flesh of man, in the reign of Augustus ; and in connection 
with this fact is an illustrious and great mystery, in which is 
contained both the salvation of men and the religion of the 
supreme God, and all truth. For when first the accursed and 
impious worship of gods crept in through the treachery of the 
demons, then the religion of God remained with the Hebrews 
alone, who, not by any law, but after the manner of their 
fathers, observed the worship handed down to them by succes 
sive generations, 1 even until the time when they went forth out 
of Egypt under the leadership of Moses, the first of all the 
prophets, through whom the law was given to them from God ; 
and they were afterwards called Jews. Therefore they served 
God, being bound by the chains of the law. But they also, by 
degrees going astray to profane rites, undertook the worship of 
strange gods, and, leaving the worship of their fathers, sacri 
ficed to senseless images. Therefore God sent to them prophets 
filled with the Divine Spirit, to upbraid them with their sins and 
proclaim repentance, to threaten them with the vengeance which 
would follow, and announce that it would come to pass, if they 
persisted in the same faults, that He would send another as 
the bearer of a new law ; and having removed the ungrateful 
people from their inheritance, He would assemble to Himself a 
more faithful people from foreign nations. But they not only 
persisted in their course, but even slew the messengers them 
selves. Therefore He condemned them on account of these 
deeds : nor did He any longer send messengers to a stubborn 
people ; but He sent His own Son, to call all nations to the 
favour of God. Nor, however, did He shut them out, impious 
and ungrateful as they were, from the hope of salvation ; but 
He sent Him to them before all others, 2 that if they should by 
1 "Per succcssiones." 2 p tissimurn." 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 127 

chance obey, they might not lose that which they had received ; 
but if they should refuse to receive their God, then, the heirs 
being removed, 1 the Gentiles would come into possession. 
Therefore the supreme Father ordered Him to descend to the 
earth, and to put on a human body, that, being subject to the 
sufferings of the flesh, He might teach virtue and patience not 
only by words, but also by deeds. Therefore He was born a 
second time as man, of a virgin, without a father, that, as in 
His first spiritual birth, being born of God alone, He was made 
a sacred spirit, so in His second and fleshly birth, being born of 
a mother only, He might become holy flesh, that through Him 
the flesh, which had become subject to sin, might be freed from 
destruction. 

CHAP. XLIV. The twofold nativity of Christ is proved from 
the prophets. 

That these things should thus take place as I have set them 
forth, the prophets had before predicted. In the writings of 
Solomon it is thus written : 2 " The womb of a virgin was 
strengthened, and conceived : and a virgin was impregnated, 
and became a mother in great pity." In Isaiah 3 it is thus 
written : " Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and 
ye shall call His name Immanuel ; " which, being interpreted, 
is God with us. 4 For He was with us on the earth, when He 
assumed flesh ; and He was no less God in man, and man in 
God. That He was both God and man was declared before by 
the prophets. That He was God, Isaiah 5 thus declares : " They 
shall fall down unto Thee, they shall make supplication unto 
Thee ; since God is in Thee, and we knew it not, even the God 
of Israel. They shall be ashamed and confounded, all of them 
who oppose themselves to Thee, and shall go to confusion." 
Also Jeremiah : 6 " This is our God, and there shall none other 
be compared unto Him ; He hath found out all the way of 
knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant, and to 
Israel His beloved. Afterward He w r as seen upon earth, and 
dwelt among men." Likewise that He was man, the same Jere 
miah 7 says : " And He is man, and who knew Him ? " Isaiah 

1 " Hseredibus abdicatis." 2 See Instit. iv. 12. 3 Isa. vii. 14. 

4 Matt. i. 23. 5 Isa. xlv. 14-16. 6 Barucli iii. 35-37. 

7 xvii. 9. This and the following quotations are from the Septuagint. 



]2 8 LACTANT1US. 

also thus speaks : l " And the Lord shall send them a man who 
shall save them, and with judgment shall He heal them." Also 
Moses himself in the book of Numbers : 2 " There shall come 
a star out of Jacob, and a man shall arise out of Israel." For 
this cause, therefore, being God, He took upon Him flesh, that, 
becoming a mediator 3 between God and man, having over 
come death, He might by His guidance lead man to God. 

CHAP. XLV. The power and works of Christ are proved from 
the Scriptures. 

We have spoken of His nativity ; now let us speak of His 
power and works, which, when He wrought them among men, 
the Jews, seeing them to be great and wonderful, supposed that 
they were done by the influence of magic, not knowing that all 
those things which were done by Him had been foretold by the 
prophets. He gave strength to the sick, and to those languishing 
under various diseases, not by any healing remedy, but instan 
taneously, by the force and power of His word ; He restored the 
weak, He made the lame to walk, He gave sight to the blind, 
He made the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear ; He cleansed the 
polluted and unclean, He restored their right mind to those 
who were maddened with the attack of demons, He recalled to 
life and light those who were dead or now buried. He also 
fed and satisfied 4 five thousand men with five loaves and two 
fishes. He also walked upon the sea. He also in a tempest 
commanded the wind to be still, and immediately there was a 
calm ; all which things we find predicted both in the books of 
the prophets and in the verses of the Sibyls. 

When a great multitude resorted to Him on account of these 
miracles, and, as He truly was, believed Him to be the Son of 
God, and sent from God, the priests and rulers of the Jews, 
filled with envy, and at the same time excited with anger, 
because He reproved their sins and injustice, conspired to put 
Him to death ; and that this would happen, Solomon had fore 
told a little more than a thousand years before, in the book of 
Wisdom, using these words : 5 Let us defraud the righteous, 
for he is unpleasant to us, and upbraideth us with our offences 

1 Isa. xix. 20. 2 Num. xxiv. 17. The prophecy of Balaam. 

" Inter deum et hominem medius factus." 
4 " Saturavit." AYisd. ii. 12-22. See Instit. iv. 16. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 129 

against the law. He maketh his boast that he has the 
knowledge of God, and he calleth himself the Son of God. 
He is made to reprove our thoughts : it grieveth us even to 
look upon him ; for his life is not like the life of others, his 
ways are of another fashion. We are counted by him as 
triflers ; he withdraweth himself from our ways, as from 
filthiness ; he commendeth greatly the latter end of the just, 
and boasteth that he has God for his father. Let us see, 
therefore, if his words be true ; let us prove what end he 
shall have ; let .us examine him with rebukes and torments, 
that we may know his meekness and prove his patience : let 
us condemn him to a shameful death. Such things have they 
imagined, and have gone astray ; for their own folly hath 
blinded them, and they do not understand the mysteries of 
God." 

Therefore, being unmindful of these writings which they 
read, they incited the people as though against an impious man, 
so that they seized and led Him to trial, and with impious words 
demanded His death. But they alleged against Him as a crime 
this very thing, that He said that He was the Son of God, and 
that by healing on the Sabbath He broke the law, which He 
said that He did not break, but fulfilled. And when Pontius 
Pilate, who then as legate had authority in Syria, perceived 
that the cause did not belong to the office of the Roman judge, 
he sent Him to Herod theTetrarch, and permitted the Jews them 
selves to be the judges of their own law: who, having received 
the power of punishing His guilt, sentenced 1 Him to the cross, 
but first scourged and struck Him with their hands, put on 
Him a crown of thorns, spat upon His face, gave Him gall 
and vinegar to eat and drink ; and amidst these things no word 
was heard to fall from His lips. Then the executioners, 
having cast lots over His tunic and mantle, suspended Him on 
the cross, and affixed Him to it, though on the next day they 
were about to celebrate the Passover, that is, their festival. 
Which crime was followed by prodigies, that they might under 
stand the impiety which they had committed ; for at the same 
moment in which He expired, there was a great earthquake, and 
a withdrawing 2 of the sun, so that the day was turned into night. 

1 " Addixerunt." Some read " affixerunt," affixed Him to the cross. 

2 " Deliquium solis." 

LACT. VOL. II. I 



130 LACTANT1US. 

CHAP. XL VI. It is proved from the prophets that the passion 

and death of Christ had been foretold. 

And the prophets had predicted that all these things would 
thus come to pass. Isaiah thus speaks: 1 " I am not rebellious, nor 
do I oppose : I gave my back to the scourge, and my cheeks to 
the hand : I turned not away my face from the foulness of 
spitting." The same prophet says respecting His silence : 2 " I 
was brought as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before 
its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth." David also, 
in the 34th Psalm : 3 " The abjects were gathered together 
against me, and they knew me not : they were scattered, yet 
felt no remorse : they tempted me, and gnashed upon me with 
their teeth." The same also says respecting food and drink in 
the 68th Psalm : 4 " They gave me also gall for my meat, and in 
my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." Also respecting the 
cross of Christ : 5 " And they pierced my hands and my feet, they 
numbered all my bones : they themselves have looked and stared 
upon me ; they parted my garments among them, and cast lots 
upon my vesture." Moses also says in Deuteronomy : 6 " And 
thy life shall hang in doubt before thine eyes, and thou shalt 
fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life." 
Also in Numbers : 7 " God is not in doubt as a man, nor does He 
suffer threats as the son of man." Also Zechariah says : 8 
"And they shall look on me whom they pierced." Amos 9 
thus speaks of the obscuring of the sun : " In that day, saith 
the Lord, the sun shall go down at noon, and the clear day 
shall be dark ; and I will turn your feasts into mourning, and 
your songs into lamentation." Jeremiah 10 also speaks of the 
city of Jerusalem, in which He suffered : " Her sun is gone 
down while it was yet day; she hath been confounded and 
reviled, and the residue of them will I deliver to the sword." 
Nor were these things spoken in vain. For after a short time 
the Emperor Vespasian subdued the Jews, and laid waste their 
lands with the sword and fire, besieged and reduced them by 

1 Isa. 1. 5. 2 Isa . mi. 7. 

3 Ps. xxxv. 15, 16. See Instit. iv. 18. 4 Ps. Ixix. 21. 

5 Ps. xxii. 16-18. c Dent, xxviii. 66. 

7 Num. xxiii. 19. 8 Zech. xii. 10. 

9 Amos viii. 9, 10. J Jer. xv. 9. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 131 

famine, overthrew Jerusalem, led the captives in triumph, 
and prohibited the others who were left from ever returning 
to their native land. And these things were done by God on 
account of that crucifixion of Christ, as He before declared this 
to Solomon in their Scriptures, saying, 1 " And Israel shall be for 
perdition and a reproach 2 to the people, and this house shall be 
desolate ; and every one that shall pass by shall be astonished, 
and shall say, Why hath God done these evils to this land, and 
to this house ? And they shall say, Because they forsook the 
Lord their God, and persecuted their King, who was dearly 
beloved by God, and crucified Him with great degradation, 
therefore hath God brought upon them these evils." For what 
would they not deserve who put to death their Lord, who had 
come for their salvation ? 

CHAP. XL vii. Of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the sending of 
the apostles, and the ascension of the Saviour into heaven. 

After these things they took His body down from the cross, 
and buried it in a tomb. But on the third day, before day 
break, there was an earthquake, and the stone with which they 
had closed the sepulchre was removed, and He arose. But 
nothing was found in the sepulchre except the clothes in which 
the body had been wrapped. 3 But that He would rise again 
on the third day, the prophets had long ago foretold. David, 
in the 15th Psalm: 4 "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, 
neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption." 
Likewise Hosea : 5 " This my Son is wise, therefore He shall 
not stay long in the anguish of His sons : and I will ransom 
Him from the hand of the grave. Where is thy judgment, O 
death, where is thy sting?" The same again says: 6 "After 
two days He will revive us on the third day." 

Therefore, after His resurrection He went into Galilee, and 
again assembled His disciples, who had fled through fear ; and 
having given them commands which He wished to be observed, 
and having arranged for the preaching of the gospel throughout 
the whole world, He breathed into them the Holy Spirit, and 
gave them the power of working miracles, that they might act 

1 1 Kings ix. 7-9. 2 See Instit. iv. 18. 3 " Exuviae corporis." 

4 Ps. xvi. 10. 6 Hos. xiii. 13, Septuagmt version. 

6 Hos. vi. 2. 



132 LACTANT1US. 

for the welfare of men as well by deeds as words ; and then at 
length, on the fortieth day, He returned to His Father, being 
carried up into a cloud. The prophet Daniel l had long before 
shown this, saying, " I saw in the night vision, and, behold, one 
like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came 
to the Ancient of days ; and they who stood beside Him brought 
Him near before Him. And there was given Him a kingdom, 
and glory, and dominion, and all people, tribes, and languages 
shall serve Him ; and His power is an everlasting one, which 
shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be 
destroyed." Also David in the 109th Psalm: 2 "The Lord 
said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make 
Thine enemies Thy footstool." 

CHAP. XLVIII. Of the disinheriting of the Jews, and the adoption 
of the Gentiles. 

Since, therefore, He sits at the right hand of God, about to 
tread down His enemies, who tortured Him, when He shall 
come to judge the world, it is evident that no hope remains to 
the Jews, unless, turning themselves to repentance, and being 
cleansed from the blood with which they polluted themselves, 
they shall begin to hope in Him whom they denied. 3 There 
fore Esdras thus speaks : 4 " This passover is our Saviour and 
our refuge. Consider and let it come into your heart, that we 
have to abase Him in a figure : and after these things we have 
hoped 5 in Him." 

Now that the Jews were disinherited, because thay rejected 
Christ, and that we, who are of the Gentiles, were adopted into 
their place, is proved by the Scriptures. Jeremiah 6 thus speaks: 
" I have forsaken mine house, I have given mine heritage into 
the hands of her enemies. Mine heritage is become unto me as 
a lion in the forest ; it hath given forth its voice against me : 
therefore have I hated it." Also Malachi : 7 "I have no 
pleasure in you, saith the Lord, neither will I accept an offering 
at your hand. For from the rising of the sun even unto the 
going down thereof, my name shall be great among the 

1 Dan. vii. 13. 2 Ps . cx> L 

Negayenmt;" others read "necaverunt," killed. 4 See Instit. iv. 18. 

6 " Speravinms ; " others " sperabimus." 6 j er< ^ 7 . 

7 Mai. i. 10, 11. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 133 

Gentiles." Isaiah also thus speaks : l " I come to gather all 
nations and tongues : and they shall come and see my glory." 
The same says in another place, 2 speaking in the person of the 
Father to the Son : " I the Lord have called Thee in righteous 
ness, and will hold Thine hand, and will keep Thee, and give 
Thee for a covenant of my people, for a light of the Gentiles ; 
to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out the prisoners from the 
prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house." 

CHAP. XLIX. That God is one only. 

If therefore the Jews have been rejected by God, as the 
faith clue to the sacred writings shows, and the Gentiles, as we 
see, brought in, and freed from the darkness of this present 
life and from the chains of demons, it follows that no other 
hope is proposed to man, unless he shall follow true religion 
and true wisdom, which is in Christ, and he who is ignorant of 
Him is always estranged from the truth and from God. Nor 
let the Jews, or philosophers, flatter themselves respecting the 
supreme God. He who has not acknowledged the Son has 
been unable to acknowledge the Father. This is wisdom, and 
this is the mystery of the supreme God. God willed that He 
should be acknowledged and worshipped through Him. On 
this account He sent the prophets beforehand to announce His 
coming, that when the things which had been foretold were 
fulfilled in Him, then He might be believed by men to be both 
the Son of God and God. 

Nor, however, must the opinion be entertained that there are 
two Gods, for the Father and the Son are one. For since the 
Father loves the Son, and gives all things to Him, and the Son 
faithfully obeys the Father, and wills nothing except that which 
the Father does, it is plain that so close a relationship cannot 
be separated, so that they should be said to be two in whom 
there is but one substance, and will, and faith. Therefore the 
Son is through the Father, and the Father through the Son. 
One honour is to be given to both, as to one God, and is to be 
so divided through the worship of the two, that the division 
itself may be bound by an inseparable bond of union. He will 
leave nothing to himself, who separates either the Father from 
the Son, or the Son from the Father. 

1 Isa. Ixvi. 18. 2 Isa. xlii. 6, 7. 



13 4 LACTANTIUS. 

CHAP. L. Why God assumed a mortal body, and suffered death. 

It remains to answer those also, who deem that it was 
unbecoming and unreasonable that God should be clothed 
with a mortal body ; that He should be in subjection to men ; 
that He should endure insults ; that He should even suffer 
tortures and death. I will speak my sentiments, and I will 
sum up, as I shall be able, an immense subject in few words. 
He who teaches anything, ought, as I think, himself to practise 
what he teaches, that he may compel men to obey. For if he 
shall not practise them, he will detract from the faith due to 
his precepts. Therefore there is need of examples, that the 
precepts which are given may have firmness, and if any one 
shall prove contumacious, and shall say that they cannot be 
carried out in practice, the instructor may refute him by 
actual fact. 1 Therefore a system of teaching cannot be 
perfect, when it is delivered by words only; but it then 
becomes perfect, when it is completed by deeds. 

Since therefore Christ was sent to men as a teacher of 
virtue, for the perfection of His teaching it was plainly be 
fitting that He should act as well as teach. But if He had not 

C> 

assumed a human body, He would not have been able to practise 
what He taught, that is, not to be angry, not to desire riches, 
not to be inflamed with lust, not to fear pain, to despise death. 
These things are plainly virtues, but they cannot be done with 
out flesh. Therefore He assumed a body on this account, that, 
since He taught that the desires of the flesh must be overcome, 
He might in person first practise it, that no one might allege 
the frailty of the flesh as an excuse. 

CHAP. LI. Of the death of Christ on the cross. 

I will now speak of the mystery of the cross, lest any one 
should happen to say, If death must be endured by Him, it 
should have been not one that was manifestly infamous and 
dishonourable, but one which had some honour. I know, 
indeed, that many, while they dislike the name of the cross, 
shrink from the truth, though there is in it great reasonable 
ness and power. For since He was sent for this purpose, that 
He might open to the lowest men the way to salvation, He 
1 "Prseseuti opere convincat." 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 135 

made Himself humble that He might free them. Therefore 
He underwent that kind of death which is usually inflicted on 
the humble, that an opportunity of imitation might be given to 
all. Moreover, since He was about to rise again, it was not 
allowable that His body should ba in any way mutilated, or a 
bone broken, which happens to those who are beheaded. There 
fore the cross was preferred, which reserved the body with the 
bones uninjured for the resurrection. 

To these grounds it was also added, that having undertaken 
to suffer and to die, it was befitting that He should be lifted 
up. Thus the cross exalted Him both in fact and in emblem, 1 
so that His majesty and power became known to all, together 
with His passion. For in that He extended His hands on the 
cross, He plainly stretched out His wings towards the east and 
the west, under which all nations from either side of the world 
might assemble and repose. But of what great weight this 
sign is, and what power it has, is evident, since all the host of 
demons is expelled and put to flight by this sign. And as He 
Himself before His passion put to confusion demons by His 
word and command, so now, by the name and sign of the same 
passion, unclean spirits, having insinuated themselves into the 
bodies of men, are driven out, when racked and tormented, 
and confessing themselves to be demons, they yield themselves 
to God, who harasses them. What therefore can the Greeks 
expect from their superstitions and with their wisdom, when 
they see that their gods, whom they do not deny to be demons 
also, are subdued by men through the cross f 

CHAP. LIT. The hope of the salvation of men consists in the 
knowledge of the true God, and of the hatred of the 
heathens against the Christians. 

There is therefore but one hope of life for men, one harbour 
of safety, one refuge of liberty, if, laying aside the errors by 
which they were held, they open the eyes of their mind and 
recognise God, in whom alone is the abode of truth ; despise 
earthly things, and those made from the ground; esteem as 
nothing philosophy, which is foolishness with God ; and having 
undertaken true wisdom, that is, religion, become heirs of 
immortality. But indeed they are not so much opposed to 
1 " Significatione." 



136 LACTANTIUS. 

the truth as to their own safety ; and when they hear these 
things, they abominate them as some inexpiable wickedness. 
But they do not even endure 1 to hear : they think that their 
ears are polluted with impiety 2 if they hear ; nor do they now 
refrain from reproaches, but assail them with the most insulting 
words ; and also, if they have obtained the power, persecute 
them as public enemies, yea, even as worse than enemies ; for 
enemies, when they have been vanquished, are punished with 
death or slavery ; nor is there any torturing after the laying 
down of arms, although those deserved to suffer all things who 
wished so to act, that piety might have place among swords. 

Cruelty, combined with innocence, is unheard of, nor is it 
worthy of the condition of victorious enemies. What is the so 
powerful cause of this fury ? Doubtless, because they cannot 
contend on the ground of reason, they urge forward their 
cause by means of violence ; and, with the subject not under 
stood, they condemn those as most pernicious persons who have 
declined to make a stand respecting the fact of their innocence. 
Nor do they deem it sufficient that those whom they unreason 
ably hate should die by a speedy and simple death ; but they 
lacerate them with refined tortures, that they may satisfy their 
hatred, which is not produced by any fault, but by the truth, 
which is hateful to those who live wickedly, because they take 
it ill that there are some whom their deeds cannot please. 
They desire in every way to destroy these, that they may be 
able to sin without restraint in the absence of any witness. 

CHAP. LIII. The reasons of the hatred against the Christians 
are examined and refuted. 

But they say that they do these things for the defence of 
their gods. In the first place, if they are gods, and have any 
power and influence, they have no need of the defence and 
protection of men, but they manifestly defend themselves. Or 
how is man able to hope for aid from them, if they are unable 
to avenge even their own injuries ? Therefore it is a vain and 
foolish thing to wish to be avengers of the gods, except that 
their distrust is more apparent from this. For he who under 
takes the protection of the god whom he worships, admits the 

1 " Ne audire quidem patiuntur ;" others read " patienter." 
8 " Sacrilegio." 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 137 

worthlessness of that god ; but if he worships him on this 
account, because he thinks him powerful, he ought not to wish 
to defend him, by whom he himself ought to be defended. 
We therefore act rightly. For when those defenders of false 
gods, who are rebellious against the true God, persecute His 
name in us, we resist not either in deed or in word, but with 
meekness, and silence, and patience, we endure whatever cruelty 
is able to contrive against us. For we have confidence in God, 
from whom we expect that retribution will hereafter follow. 
Nor is this confidence ungrounded, since we have in some cases 
heard, and in other cases seen, the miserable ends of all those 
who have dared to commit this crime. Nor has any one had 
it in his power to insult God with impunity ; but he who has 
been unwilling to learn by word has learned by his own punish 
ment who is the true God. 

I should wish to know, when they compel men to sacrifice 
against their will, what reasoning they have with themselves, 
or to whom they make that offering. If it is made to the gods, 
that is not worship, nor an acceptable sacrifice, which is made by 
those who are displeasing to them, which is extorted by injury, 
which is enforced by pain. But if it is done to those whom 
they compel, it is plainly not a benefit, which any one would 
not receive, he even prefers rather to die. If it is a good to 
which you call me, why do you invite me with evil ? why with 
blows, and not with words ? why not by argument, but by 
bodily tortures ? Whence it is manifest that that is an evil, 
to which you do not allure me willing, but drag me refusing. 
What folly is it to wish to consult the good of any one against 
his will ! If any one, under the pressure of evils, attempts to 
have recourse to death, can you, if you either wrest the sword 
from his hand, or cut the halter, or drag him away from the 
precipice, or pour out the poison, boast yourself as the preserver 
of the man, when he, whom you think that you have preserved, 
does not thank you, and thinks that you have acted ill towards 
him, in averting from him the death which he desired, and in 
not permitting him to reach the end and rest from his labours ? 
For a benefit ought not to be weighed according to the quality 
of the action, but according to the feelings of him who receives it. 
Why should you reckon as a benefit that which is an injury to me I 
Do you wish me to worship your gods, which I consider deadly 



13 s LACTANTIUS. 

to myself ? If it is a good, I do not envy it. Enjoy your good 
by yourself. There is no reason why you should wish to 
succour my error, which I have undertaken by my judgment 
and inclination. If it is evil, why do you drag me to a partici 
pation in evil ? Use your own fortune. I prefer to die in the 
practice of that which is good, than to live in evil. 

CHAP. LIV. Of the freedom of religion in the worship of God. 

These things may indeed be said with justice. But who 
will hear, when men of furious and unbridled spirit think that 
their authority is diminished if there is any freedom in the 
affairs of men ? But it is religion alone in which freedom has 
placed its dwelling, For it is a matter which is voluntary 
above all others, nor can necessity be imposed upon any, so as 
to worship that which he does not wish to worship. Some 
one may perhaps pretend, he cannot wish it. In short, some, 
through fear of torments, or overcome by tortures, have 
assented to detestable sacrifices : they never do that voluntarily 
which they did from necessity; but when the opportunity is 
again given to them, and liberty restored, they again betake 
themselves to God, and appease Him with prayers and tears, 
repenting not of the will, which they had not, but of the 
necessity which they endured ; and pardon is not denied to 
those who make satisfaction. What then does he accomplish 
who pollutes the body, since he cannot change the will ? 

But, in fact, men of weak understanding, if they have induced 
any man of spirit 1 to sacrifice to their gods, with incredible 
alacrity insolently exult, and rejoice, as though they had sent 
an enemy under the yoke. But if any one, neither frightened 
by threats nor by tortures, shall have chosen to prefer his faith 
to his life, cruelty puts forth all its ingenuity against him, plans 
dreadful and intolerable things ; and because they know that 
death for the cause of God is glorious, and that this is a victory on 
our side, if, having overcome the torturers, we lay down our life 
in behalf of. the faith and religion, they also themselves strive to 
conquer us. They do not put us to death, but they search out 
new and unheard-of tortures, that the frailty of the flesh may 
yield to pains, and if it does not yield, they put off further 
punishment, and apply diligent care to the wounds, that while 
1 " Fortem ;" some read " forte," by chance. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 139 

the scars are yet fresh, a repetition of the torture may inflict 
more pain; and while they practise this torture 1 upon the 
innocent, they evidently consider themselves pious, and just, 
and religious (for they are delighted with such sacrifices to 
their gods), but they term the others impious and desperate. 
What perversity is this, that he who is punished, though 
innocent, should be called desperate and impious, and that the 
torturer, on the other hand, should be called just and pious ! 

CHAP. LV. The heathens charge justice with impiety in 
following God. 

But they say that those are rightly and deservedly punished, 
who dislike the public rites of religion handed down to them 
by their ancestors. What if those ancestors were foolish in 
undertaking vain religious rites, as we have shown before, shall 
we be prohibited from following true and better things ? Why 
do we deprive ourselves of liberty, and become enslaved to the 
errors of others, as though bound 2 to them 1 Let it be per 
mitted us to be wise, let it be permitted us to inquire into the 
truth. But, however, if it pleases them to defend (the folly) 3 
of their ancestors, why are the Egyptians suffered to escape, 
who worship cattle and beasts of every kind as deities ? Why 
are the gods themselves made the subjects of comic 4 represen 
tations? and why is he honoured who derides them most 
wittily? Why are philosophers attended to, who either say 
that there are no gods, or that, if there are any, they take no 
interest in, and do not regard the affairs of men, or argue that 
there is no providence at all, which rules the world I 

But they alone of all are judged impious who follow God 
and the truth. And since this is at once justice, and wisdom, 
they lay to its charge either impiety or folly, and do not per 
ceive what it is which deceives them, when they call evil good, 
and good evil. Many indeed of the philosophers, and especially^ 
Plato and Aristotle, spoke many things about justice, asserting 
and extolling that virtue with the greatest praise, because it 
gives to each its due, because it maintains equity in all things ; 

1 " Carnificinam." 2 " Addicti." 

3 " Stultitiam." This \vord is wanting in. the MSS., but this or some such 
word is necessary to complete the sense. 

4 " Mimi ;" wanting in some editions. 



140 LACTANTIUS. 

and whereas the other virtues are as it were silent, and shut up 
within, that it is justice alone which is neither concerned l for 
itself only, nor hidden, but altogether shows itself 2 abroad, 
and is ready for conferring a benefit, so as to assist as many as 
possible : as though in truth justice ought to be in judges only, 
and those placed in any post of authority, and not in all men. 

And yet there is no one of men, not even of the lowest 
and of beggars, who is not capable of justice. But because 
they did not know what it was, from what source it proceeded, 
and what was its mode of operation, they assigned to a few 
only that highest virtue, that is, the common good of all, and 
said that it aimed at 8 no advantages peculiar to itself, but 
only the interests of others. And not without reason was 
Cnrneades raised up, a man of the greatest talent and penetra 
tion, to refute their speech, and overthrow the justice, which 
had no firm foundation ; not because he thought that justice 
was to be blamed, but that he might show that its defenders 
brought forward no firm or certain argument respecting justice. 

CHAP. LVI. Of justice, ivldch is tJie ivorship of the true God. 

For if justice is the worship of the true God (for what is 
so just with respect to equity, so pious with respect to honour, 
so necessary with respect to safety, as to acknowledge God as 
a parent, to reverence Him as Lord, and to obey His law or 
precepts?), it follows that the philosophers were ignorant of 
justice, for they neither acknowledged God Himself, nor 
observed His worship and law ; and on this account they might 
have been refuted by Carneades, whose disputation was to this 
effect, that there is no natural justice, and therefore that all 
animals defended their own interests by the guidance of nature 
itself, and therefore that justice, if it promotes the advantages 
of others and neglects its own, is to be called foolishness. But 
if all people who are possessed of power, and the Romans 
themselves, who are masters of the whole world, were willing 
to follow justice, and to restore to every one his property which 
they have seized by force and arms, they will return to cottages 
and a condition of want. And if they did this, they might 
indeed be just, but they must of necessity be considered foolish, 

" Silu tan turn conciliata sit." * " Foras tota promineat." 

8 " Aucupari." 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 141 

who proceed to injure themselves for the advantage of others. 
Then, if any one should find a man who was through a mistake 
offering for sale gold as mountain-brass, or silver as lead, and 
necessity should compel him to buy it, will he conceal his 
knowledge and buy it for a small sum, or will he rather inform 
the seller of its value ? If he shall inform him, he will mani 
festly be called just; but he will also be foolish, for conferring 
an advantage upon another, and injuring himself. But it is 
easy (to judge) in a case of injury. What if he shall incur 
danger of his life, so that it shall be necessary for him either 
to kill another or to die, what will he do ? It may happen that, 
having suffered shipwreck, he may find some feeble person 
clinging to a plank ; or, his army having been defeated, in his 
flight he may find a wounded man on horseback : will he thrust 
the one from the plank, the other from his horse, that he him 
self may be able to escape? If he shall wish to be just, he will 
not do it ; but he will also be judged foolish, who in sparing 
the life of another shall lose his own. If he shall do it, he 
will indeed appear wise, because he will provide for his own 
interests ; but he will also be wicked, because he will commit a 
wrong. 

CHAP. LVII. Of wisdom and foolishness. 

These things indeed are said with acuteness ; but we are able 
very readily to reply to them. For the imitation of names 
causes it thus to appear. For justice bears a resemblance to 
foolishness, and yet it is not foolishness ; and at the same time 
malice bears a resemblance to wisdom, and yet it is not wisdom. 
But as that malice is intelligent and shrewd in preserving its 
own interests, it is not wisdom, but cunning and craftiness ; so 
likewise justice ought not to be called foolishness, but inno 
cence, because the just man must be wise, and the foolish 
man unjust. For neither reason nor nature itself permits that 
he who is just should not be wise, since it is plain that the just 
man does nothing except that which is right and good, and 
always avoids that which is perverted 1 and evil. But who will 
be able to distinguish between good and evil, depravity and 
rectitude, but he who shall be wise ? But the fool acts badly, 
because he is ignorant of what is good and evil. Therefore he 
1 Travuin." 



142 LACTANTIUS. 

does wrong, because he is unable to distinguish between things 
which are perverted and those which are. right. Therefore 
justice cannot be befitting to the foolish man, nor wisdom to 
the unjust. He is not then a foolish person who has not thrust 
off a shipwrecked man from a plank, nor a wounded man from 
his horse, because he has abstained from injury, which is a sin ; 
and it is the part of the wise man to avoid sin. 

But that he should appear foolish at first sight is caused by 
this, that they suppose the soul to be extinguished together with 
the body ; and for this reason they refer all advantage to this 
life. For if there is no existence after death, it is plain that he 
acts foolishly who spares the life of another to his own loss, or 
who consults the gain of another more than his own. If death 
destroys the soul, we must use 1 our endeavours to live for a 
longer time, and more to our own advantage; but if there 
remains after death a life of immortality and blessedness, the 
just and wise man will certainly despise this corporeal existence, 
with all earthly goods, because he will know what kind of a 
reward he is about to receive from God. Therefore let us 
maintain innocency, let us maintain justice, let us undergo the 
appearance of foolishness, that we may be able to maintain true 
wisdom. And if it appears to men senseless and foolish to 
prefer torture and death rather than to sacrifice to gods, and to 
escape without harm, let us however strive to exhibit faithfulness 
towards God by all virtue and by all patience. Let not death 
terrify us, nor pain subdue us, so as to prevent the vigour of 
our mind and constancy from being preserved unshaken. Let 
them call us foolish, whilst they themselves are most foolish, 
and blind and dull, and like sheep; who do not understand 
that it is a deadly thing to leave the living God, and prostrate 
themselves in the adoration of earthly objects; who do not 
know that eternal punishment awaits those who have wor 
shipped senseless images; and that those who have neither 
refused tortures nor death for the worship and honour of the 
true God will obtain eternal life. This is the highest faith ; 
this is true wisdom ; this is perfect justice. It matters nothing 
to us what fools may judge, what trifling men may think. We 
ought to await the judgment of God, that we may hereafter 
judge those who have passed judgment on us. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 143 

CHAP. LVIIT. Of the true worship of God, and sacrifice. 

I have spoken of justice, what was its nature. It follows 
that I show what is true sacrifice to God, what is the most just 
manner of worshipping Him, lest any one should think that 
victims, or odours, or precious gifts, are desired by God, who, if 
He is not subject to hunger, and thirst, and cold, and desire of 
all earthly things, does not therefore make use of all these 
things which are presented in temples and to gods of earth ; 
but as corporeal offerings are necessary for corporeal beings, so 
manifestly an incorporeal sacrifice is necessary for an incor 
poreal being. But God has no need of those things which He has 
given to man for his use, since all the earth is under His power: 
He needs not a temple, since the world is His dwelling ; He 
needs not an image, since He is incomprehensible both to the 
eyes and to the mind ; He needs not earthly lights, for He was 
able to kindle the light of the sun, with the other stars, for the use 
of man. What then does God require from man but worship of 
the mind, which is pure and holy ? For those things which are 
made by the hands, or are outside of man, are senseless, frail, 
and displeasing. This is true sacrifice, which is brought forth 
not from the chest but from the heart; not that which is offered 
by the hand, but by the mind. This is the acceptable victim, 
which the mind sacrifices of itself. For what do victims bestow? 
what does incense ? what do garments 1 what does silver ? what 
gold ? what precious stones, if there is not a pure mind on the 
part of the worshipper ? Therefore it is justice only which God 
requires. In this is sacrifice; in this the worship of God, 
respecting which I must now speak, and show in what works 
justice must necessarily be contained. 

CHAP. LIX. Of the ways of life, and the first times of the 
world. 

That there are two ways of human life was unknown neither 
to philosophers nor to poets, but both introduced them in a 
different manner. The philosophers wished the one to be the 
way of industry, the other of idleness ; but in this respect they 
were less correct in their statements, that they referred them 
to the advantages of this life only. The poets spoke better who 
said that one of them was the way of the just, the other of the 



K 4 LACTANTIUS. 

unjust ; but they err in this, that they say that they are not in this 
life, but in the shades below. We manifestly speak more correctly, 
who say that the one is the way of life, the other that of death. 
And here, however, we say that there are two ways ; but the 
one on the right hand, in which the just walk, does not lead to 
Elysium, but to heaven, for they become immortal ; the other 
on the left leads to Tartarus, for the unjust are sentenced to 
eternal tortures. Therefore the way of justice, which leads to 
life, is to be held by us. Now the first duty of justice is to 
acknowledge God as a parent, and to fear Him as a master, to 
love Him as a father. For the same Being who begat us, who 
animated us with vital breath, who nourishes and preserves us, 
has over us, not only as a father but also as a master, authority 
to correct us, and the power of life and death ; wherefore two 
fold honour is due to Him from man, that is, love combined 
with fear. The second duty of justice is to acknowledge man 
as a brother. For if the same God made us, and produced all 
men on equal terms to justice and eternal life, it is manifest 
that we are united by the relationship of brotherhood ; and he 
who does not acknowledge this is unjust. But the origin of 
this evil, by which the mutual society of men, by which the 
bond of relationship has been torn asunder, arises from igno 
rance of the true God. For he who is ignorant of that fountain 
of bounty can by no means be good. Hence it is that, from 
the time when a multitude of gods began to be consecrated 
and worshipped by men, justice, as the poets relate, being put 
to flight, every compact was destroyed, the fellowship of human 
justice was destroyed. Then every one, consulting his own 
interest, reckoned might to be right, injured another, attacked 
by frauds, deceived 1 by treachery, increased his own advan 
tages by the inconvenience of others, did not spare relatives, or 
children, or parents, prepared poisoned cups for the destruction 
of men, beset the ways with the sword, infested the seas, gave 
the rein to his lust, wherever passion led him, in short, 
esteemed nothing sacred which his dreadful desire did not 
violate. When these things were done, then men instituted 
laws for themselves to promote the public advantage, that they 
might meanwhile protect themselves from injuries. But the 
fear of laws did not suppress crimes, but it checked licentious- 
1 " Circumscribere." 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 145 

ness. For laws were able to punish offences, they were unable 
to punish the conscience. Therefore the things which before 
were done openly began to be done secretly. Justice also was 
evaded by stealth, since they who themselves presided over the 
administration of the laws, corrupted by gifts and rewards, 
made a traffic of their sentences, either to the escape 1 of the 
evil or to the destruction of the good. To these things were 
added dissensions, and wars, and mutual depredations ; and the 
laws being crushed, the power of acting with violence was 
assumed without restraint. 

CHAP. LX. Of the duties of justice. 

When the affairs of men were in this condition, God pitied 
us, revealed and displayed Himself to us, that in Himself we 
might learn religion, faith, purity, and mercy ; that having laid 
aside the error of our former life, together with God Himself 
we might know ourselves, whom impiety had disunited from 
Him, and we might choose 2 the divine law, which unites human 
affairs with heavenly, the Lord Himself delivering it to us ; 
by which law all the errors with which we have been ensnared, 
together with vain and impious superstitions, might be taken 
away. What we owe to man, therefore, is prescribed by that 
same divine law which teaches that whatever you render to man 
is rendered to God. But the root of justice, and the entire 
foundation of equity, is that you should not do that which you 
would be unwilling to suffer, but should measure the feelings of 
another by your own. If it is an unpleasant thing to bear an 
injury, and he who has done it appears unjust, transfer to the 
person of another that which you feel respecting yourself, and 
to your own person that which you judge respecting another, 
and you will understand that you act as unjustly if you injure 
another as another would if he should injure you. If we con 
sider these things, we shall maintain innocence, in which the 
first step of justice is, as it were, contained. For the first thing 
is, not to injure ; the next is, to be of service. And as in uncul 
tivated lands, before you begin to sow, the fields must be 
cleansed by tearing up the thorns and cutting off all the roots of 
trunks, so vices must first be thrust out from our souls, and then 

1 "In remissionem." 

2 " Sumere," to take by selection and choice. 
LACT. VOL. II. K 



146 LACTANTIUS. 

at length virtues must be implanted, from which the fruits of im 
mortality, being engendered by the word of God, may spring up. 

CHAP. LXI. Of the passions. 

There are three passions, or, so to speak, three furies, which 
excite such great perturbations in the souls of men, and some 
times compel them to offend in such a manner, as to permit 
them to have regard neither for their reputation nor for their 
personal safety : these are anger, which desires vengeance ; love 
of gain, which longs for riches ; lust, which seeks for pleasures. 
We must above all things resist these vices : these trunks must 
be rooted up, that virtues may be implanted. The Stoics are 
of opinion that these passions must be cut off ; the Peripatetics 
think that they must be restrained. Neither of them judge 
rightly, because they cannot entirely be taken away, since they 
are implanted by nature, and have a sure and great influence ; 
nor can they be diminished, since, if they are evil, we ought to 
be without them, even though restrained and used with modera 
tion ; if they are good, we ought to use them in their complete 
ness. 1 But we say that they ought not to be taken away 
nor lessened. For they are not evil of themselves, since God 
has reasonably implanted them in us ; but inasmuch as they 
are plainly good by nature, for they are given us for the pro 
tection of life, they become evil by their evil use. And as 
bravery, if you fight in defence of your country, is a good, if 
against your country, is an evil, so the passions, if you employ 
them to good purposes, will be virtues, if to evil uses, they 
will be called vices. Anger therefore has been given by God 
for the restraining of offences, that is, for controlling the dis 
cipline of subjects, that fear may suppress licentiousness and 
restrain audacity. But they who are ignorant of its limits are 
angry with their equals, or even with their superiors. Hence 
they rush to deeds of cruelty, hence they rise to slaughters, 
hence to wars. The love of gain also has been given that we 
may desire and seek for the necessaries of life. But they who 
are unacquainted with its boundaries strive insatiably to heap 
up riches. Hence poisoning, hence defraudings, 2 hence false 

1 "Integris abutendum est." Lactantius sometimes uses "abuti" for 
"uti." 

2 " Circumscriptiones." 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 147 

wills, hence all kinds of frauds have burst forth. Moreover, 
the passion of lust is implanted and innate in us for the pro 
creation of children ; but they who do not fix its limits in the 
mind use it for pleasure only. Thence arise unlawful loves, 
thence adulteries and debaucheries, thence all kinds of corrup 
tion. These passions, therefore, must be kept within their 
boundaries and directed into their right course, in which, even 
though they should be vehement, they cannot incur blame. 

CHAP. LXII. Of restraining the pleasures of the senses. 

Anger is to be restrained when we suffer an injury, that the 
evil may be suppressed which is imminent from a contest, and 
that we may retain two of the greatest virtues, harmlessness 
and patience. Let the desire of gain be broken when we have 
that which is enough. For what madness is it to labour in 
heaping up those things which must pass to others, either by 
robbery, or theft, or by proscription, or by death ? Let lust 
not go beyond the marriage bed, but be subservient to the pro 
creation of children. For a too great eagerness for pleasure 
both produces danger and generates disgrace, and that which 
is especially to be avoided, leads to eternal death. Nothing is 
so hateful to God as an unchaste mind and an impure soul. 
Nor let any one think that he must abstain from this pleasure 
only, qua3 capitur ex foeminei corporis copulatione, but also 
from the other pleasures which arise from the rest of the senses, 
because they also are of themselves vicious, and it is the part 
of the same virtue to despise them. The pleasure of the eyes 
is derived from the beauty of objects, that of the ears from 
harmonious and pleasant sounds, that of the nostrils from 
pleasant odour, that of taste from sweet food, all of which 
virtue ought strongly to resist, lest, ensnared by these attrac 
tions, the soul should be depressed from heavenly to earthly 
things, from things eternal to things temporal, from life im 
mortal to perpetual punishment. In pleasures of the taste and 
smell there is this danger, that they are able to draw us to 
luxury. For he who shall be given up to these .things, either 
will have no property, or, if he shall have any, he will expend 
it, and afterwards live a life to be abominated. But he who 
is carried away by hearing (to say nothing respecting songs, 
which oten so charm the inmost senses that they even disturb 



148 LACTANTIUS. 

with madness a settled state of the mind by certain elaborately 
composed speeches and harmonious poems, or skilful disputa 
tions) is easily led aside to impious worship. Hence it is that 
they who are either themselves eloquent, or prefer to read 
eloquent writings, do not readily believe the sacred writings, 
because they appear unpolished ; they do not seek things that 
are true, but things that are pleasant ; nay, to them those things 
appear to be most true which soothe the ears. Thus they reject 
the truth, while they are captivated by the sweetness of the 
discourse. But the pleasure which has reference to the sight 
is manifold. For that w r hich is derived from the beauty of 
precious objects excites avarice, which ought to be far removed 
from a wise and just man ; but that which is received from the 
appearance of woman hurries a man to another pleasure, of 
which we have already spoken above. 

CHAP. LXIII. That shows are most powerful to cowupt the 
minds. 

It remains to speak of public shows, which, since they have 
a more powerful influence on the corruption of the mind, ought 
to be avoided by the wise, and to be altogether guarded against, 
because it is said that they were instituted in celebration of the 
honours of the gods. For the exhibitions of shows are festivals 
of Saturnus. The stage belongs to Father Liber; but the 
Circensian games are supposed to be dedicated to Neptunus : 
so that now he who takes part in these shows appears to have 
left the worship of God, and to have passed over to profane 
rites. But I prefer to speak of the matter itself rather than of 
its origin. What is so dreadful, what so foul, as the slaughter 
of man ? Therefore our life is protected by the most severe 
laws ; therefore wars are detestable. Yet custom finds how a 
man may commit homicide without war, and without laws ; and 
this is a pleasure to him, that he has avenged guilt. But if to be 
present at homicide implies a consciousness of guilt, and the 
spectator is involved in the same guilt as the perpetrator, then 
in these slaughters of gladiators, he who is a spectator is no 
less sprinkled with blood than he who sheds it ; nor can he be 
free from the guilt of bloodshed who wished it to be poured out, 
or appear not to have slain, who both favoured the slayer and 
asked a reward for him. What of the stage ? Is it more holy, 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 149 

on which comedy converses on the subject of debaucheries 
and amours, tragedy of incest and parricide ? The immodest 
gestures also of players, with which they imitate disreputable 
women, teach the lusts, which they express by dancing. For 
the pantomime is a school of corruption, 1 in which things 
which are shameful are acted by a figurative representation, 2 
that the things which are true may be done without shame. 
These spectacles are viewed by youths, whose dangerous age, 
which ought to be curbed and governed, is trained by these 
representations to vices and sins. The circus, in truth, is con 
sidered more innocent, but there is greater madness in this, 
since the minds of the spectators are transported with such 
great madness, that they not only break out into revilings, but 
often rise to strifes, and battles, and contentions. Therefore 
all shows are to be avoided, that we may be able to maintain a 
tranquil state of mind. We must renounce hurtful pleasures, 
lest, charmed by pestilential sweetness, we fall into the snares 
of death. 

CHAP. LXIV. The passions are to be subdued^ and we must 
abstain from forbidden things. 

Let virtue alone please us, whose reward is immortal when 
it has conquered pleasure. But when the passions have been 
overcome and pleasures subdued, labour in suppressing other 
things is easy to him who is a follower of God and of truth : 
he will never revile, who shall hope for a blessing from God ; 
he will not commit perjury, lest he should mock God ; but he 
will not even swear, lest at any time, either by necessity or 
through habit, he should fall into perjury. He will speak 
nothing deceitfully, nothing with dissimulation ; he will not 
refuse that which he has promised, nor will he promise that 
which he is unable to perform ; he will envy no one, since he 
is content with himself and with his own possessions ; nor will 
he take away from, or wish ill to another, upon whom, perhaps, 
the benefits of God are more plenteously 3 bestowed. He will 
not steal, nor will he covet anything at all belonging to another. 
He will not give his money to usury, for that is to seek after 
gain from the evils of others ; nor, however, will he refuse to 

1 " Mimus corruptelaruHi disciplina est." 2 " Per imagineru." 

3 " Proniora sunt." 



15 o LACTANTIUS. 

lend, if necessity shall compel any one to borrow. He must not 
be harsh towards a son, nor towards a slave : he must remember 
that he himself has a Father and a Master. He will so act 
towards these as he will wish that others should act towards him. 
He will not receive excessive gifts from those who have less 
resources than himself; for it is not just that the estates of 
the wealthy should be increased by the losses of the wretched. 

It is an old precept not to kill, which ought not to be taken 
in this light, as though we are commanded to abstain only from 
homicide, which is punished even by public laws. But by the 
intervention of this command, it will not be permitted us to 
apply peril of death by word, nor to put to death or expose an 
infant, nor to condemn one s self by a voluntary death. We 
are likewise commanded not to commit adultery ; but by this 
precept we are not only prohibited from polluting the marriage 
of another, which is condemned even by the common law of 
nations, but even to abstain from those who prostitute their 
persons. For the law of God is above all laws; it forbids 
even those things which are esteemed lawful, that it may fulfil 
justice. It is a part of the same law not to utter false witness, 
and this also itself has a wider meaning. For if false witness 
by falsehood is injurious to him against whom it is spoken, and 
deceives him in whose presence it is spoken, we must therefore 
never speak falsely, because falsehood always deceives or 
injures. Therefore he is not a just man who, even without 
inflicting injury, speaks in idle discourse. Nor indeed is it 
lawful for him to flatter, for flattery is pernicious and deceit 
ful ; but he will everywhere guard the truth. And although 
this may for the present be unpleasant, nevertheless, when its 
advantage and usefulness shall appear, it will not produce 
hatred, as the poet says, 1 but gratitude. 

CHAP. LXV. Precepts about those things which are commanded, 
and of pity. 

I have spoken of those things which are forbidden ; I will 
now briefly say what things are commanded. Closely con 
nected with harmlessness is pity. For the former does not 
inflict injury, the latter works good ; the former begins justice, 
the latter completes it. For since the nature of men is more 
1 Terent. And. i. 1. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 151 

feeble than that of the other animals, which God has provided 
with means of inflicting violence, and with defences for repel 
ling it, He has given to us the affection of pity, that we might 
place the whole protection of our life in mutual aid. For if 
we are created by one God, and descended from one man, and 
are thus connected by the law of consanguinity, we ought on 
this account to love every man ; and therefore we are bound not 
only to abstain from the infliction of injury, but not even to 
avenge it when inflicted on us, that there may be in us com 
plete harmlessness. And on this account God commands us to 
pray always even for our enemies. Therefore we ought to be 
an animal fitted for companionship and society, that we may 
mutually protect ourselves by giving and receiving assistance. 
For our frailty is liable to many accidents and inconveniences. 
Expect that that which you see has happened to another may 
happen to you also. Thus you will at length be excited to 
render aid, if you shall assume the mind of him who, being 
placed in evils, implores your aid. If any one is in need of 
food, let us bestow it ; if any one meets us who is naked, let 
us clothe him; if any one suffers injury from one who is more 
powerful than himself, let us rescue him. Let our house be 
open to strangers, or to those who are in need of shelter. Let 
our defence not be wanting to wards, or our protection to the 
defenceless. 1 To ransom captives is a great work of pity, and 
also to visit and comfort the sick who are in poverty. If the 
helpless or strangers die, we should not permit them to lie un- 
buried. These are the works, these the duties, of pity ; and if 
any one undertakes these, he will offer unto God a true and 
acceptable sacrifice. This victim is more adapted for an 
offering to God, who is not appeased with the blood of a sheep, 
but with the piety of man, whom God, because He is just, follows 
up with His own law, and with His own condition. He shows 
mercy to him whom He sees to be merciful ; He is inexorable to 
him whom He sees to be harsh to those who entreat him. 
Therefore, that we may be able to do all these things, which are 
pleasing to God, money is to be despised, and to be transferred 
to heavenly treasures, where neither thief can break through, 
nor rust corrupt, nor tyrant take away, but it may be preserved 
for us under the guardianship of God to our eternal wealth. 
i"Viduis." 



152 LACTANTIUS. 

CHAP. LXVI. Of faith in religion, and of fortitude. 

Faith also is a great part of justice ; and this ought especi 
ally to be preserved by us, who bear the name of faith, especi 
ally in religion, because God is before and to be preferred to 
man. And if it is a glorious thing to undergo death in behalf 
of friends, of parents, and of children, that is, in behalf 
of man, and if he who has done this obtains lasting memory 
and praise, how much more so in behalf of God, who is able 
to bestow eternal life in return for temporal death ? Therefore, 
when a necessity of this kind happens, that we are compelled 
to turn aside from God, and to pass over to the rites of the 
heathens, no fear, no terror should turn us aside from guard 
ing the faith delivered to us. Let God be before our eyes, in 
our heart, by whose inward help we may overcome the pain of 
our flesh, and the torments applied to our body. Then let us 
think of nothing else but the rewards of an immortal life. 
And thus, even though our limbs should be torn in pieces, or 
burnt, we shall easily endure all things which the madness of 
tyrannical cruelty shall contrive against us. Lastly, let us 
strive to undergo death itself, not unwillingly or timidly, but 
willingly and undauntedly, as those who know what glory we 
are about to have in the presence of God, having triumphed 
over the world and coining to the things promised us; with what 
good things and how great blessedness we shall be compensated 
for these brief evils of punishments, and the injuries of this life. 
But if the opportunity of this glory shall be wanting, faith will 
have its reward even in peace. 

Therefore let it be observed in all the duties of life, let it be 
observed in marriage. For it is not sufficient if you abstain 
from another s bed, or from the brothel. Let him who has a wife 
seek nothing further, but, content with her alone, let him guard 
the mysteries of the marriage bed chaste and un defiled. For 
he is equally an adulterer in the sight of God and impure, who, 
having thrown off the yoke, wantons in strange pleasure either 
with a free woman or a slave. But as a woman is bound by the 
bonds of chastity not to desire any other man, so let the hus 
band be bound by the same law, since God has joined together 
the husband and the wife in the union of one body. On this 
account He has commanded that the wife shall not be put away 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 153 

unless convicted of adultery, and that the bond of the conjugal 
compact shall never be dissolved, unless unfaithfulness have 
broken it. This also is added for the completion of chastity, 
that there should be an absence not only of the offence, but 
even of the thought. For it is evident that the mind is polluted 
by the desire, though unaccomplished ; and so that a just man 
ought neither to do, nor to wish to do, that which is unjust. 
Therefore the conscience must be cleansed; for God, who 
cannot be deceived, inspects it. The breast must be cleared 
from every stain, that it may be a temple of God, which is 
enlightened not by the gleam of gold or ivory, but by the 
brightness of faith and purity. 

CHAP. LXVII. Of repentance, the immortality of the soul, and 
of providence. 

But it is true all these things are difficult to man, nor does 
the condition of his frailty permit that any one should be with 
out blemish. Therefore the last remedy is this, that we have 
recourse to repentance, which has not the least place among 
the virtues, because it is a correction of oneself ; that when 
we have happened to fail either in deed or in word, we may 
immediately come to a better mind, and confess that we have 
offended, and entreat pardon from God, which according to His 
mercy He will not deny, except to those who persist in their 
error. Great is the aid, great the solace of repentance. That 
is the healing of wounds and offences, that hope, that the har 
bour of safety ; and he who takes away this cuts off from him 
self the way of salvation, because no one can be so just that 
repentance is never necessary for him. But we, even though 
there is no offence of ours, yet ought to confess to God, and to 
entreat pardon for our faults, and to give thanks even in evils. 
Let us always offer this obedience to our Lord. For humility 
is dear and lovely in the sight of God ; for since He rather re 
ceives the sinner who confesses his fault, than the just man who 
is haughty, how much more will He receive the just man who 
confesses, and exalt him in His heavenly kingdom, in proportion 
to his humility ! These are the things which the worshipper of 
God ought to hold forth ; these are the victims, this the sacri 
fice, which is acceptable ; this is true worship, when a man offers 
upon the altar of God the pledges of his own mind. That 



154 LACTANTIUS. 

supreme Majesty rejoices in such a worshipper as this, as it 
takes him as a son and bestows upon him the befitting reward 
of immortality, concerning which I must now speak, and refute 
the persuasion of those who think that the soul is destroyed 
together with the body. For inasmuch as they neither knew 
God nor were able to perceive the mystery of the world, they did 
not even comprehend the nature of man and of the soul. For 
how could they see the consequences, who did not hold the 
main point ? l Therefore, in denying the existence of a pro 
vidence, they plainly denied the existence of God, who is the 
fountain and source of all things. It followed that they 
should either affirm that those things which exist have always 
existed, or were produced of their own accord, or arose from a 
meeting together of minute seeds. 

It cannot be said that that which exists, and is visible, 
always existed ; for it cannot exist of itself without some be 
ginning. But nothing can be produced of its own accord, 
because there is no nature without one who generates it. But 
how could there be original 2 seeds, since both the seeds arise 
from objects, 3 and, in their turn, objects from seeds ? There 
fore there is no seed which has not an origin. Thus it came to 
pass, that when they supposed that the world was produced by 
no providence, they did not suppose that even man was produced 
by any plan. 4 But if no plan was made use of in the creation 
of man, therefore the soul cannot be immortal. But others, on 
the other hand, thought there was but one God, and that the 
world was made by Him, and made for the sake of men, and 
that souls are immortal. But though they entertained true 
sentiments, nevertheless they did not perceive the causes, or 
reasons, or issues of this divine work and design, so as to com 
plete the whole mystery of the truth, and to comprise it within 
some limit. But that which they were not able to do, because 
they did not hold the truth in its integrity, 5 must be done by 
us, who know it on the announcement of God. 

" Summam." Lactantius uses this word to express a compendious sum 
mary of divine mysteries. 
2 " Semina principalia." 3 " Ex rebus." 

* " Aliq.ua ratione." s Perpetuo," i.e. without intermission. 






EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 155 

CHAP. LXVIII. Of the world, man, and the providence of God. 

Let us therefore consider what was the plan of making this 
so great and so immense a work. God made the world, as 
Plato thought, but he does not show why He made it. Because 
He is good, he says, and envying no one, He made the things 
which are good. But we see that there are both good and evil 
things in the system of nature. Some perverse person may 
stand forth, such as that atheist Theodoras was, and answer 
Plato : Nay, because He is evil, He made the things which are 
evil. How will he refute him ? If God made the things which 
are good, whence have such great evils burst forth, which, for 
the most part, even prevail over those which are good? They 
were contained, he says, in the matter. If there were evil, 
therefore there were also good things ; so that either God 
made nothing, or if He made only good things, the evil things 
which were not made are more eternal than the good things 
which had a beginning. Therefore the things which at one 
time began will have an end, and those which always existed 
will be permanent. Therefore evils are preferable. But if 
they cannot be preferable, they cannot indeed be more eternal. 
Therefore they either always existed, and God has been inactive, 1 
or they both flowed from one source. For it is more in accord 
ance with reason that God made all things,, than that He made 
nothing. 

Therefore, according to the sentiments of Plato, the same 
God is both good, because He made good things, and evil, be 
cause He made evil things. And if this cannot be so, it is 
evident that the world was not made by God on this account, 
because He is good. For He comprised all things, both good 
and evil ; nor did He make anything for its own sake, but 
on account of something else. A house is built not for this 
purpose only, that there may be a house, but that it may receive 
and shelter an inhabitant. Likewise a ship is built not for this 
purpose, that it may appear only to be a ship, but that men 
may be able to sail in it. Vessels also are made, not only that 
the vessels may exist, but that they may receive things which 
are necessary for use. Thus also God must have made the 
world for some use. The Stoics say that it was made for the 
1 " Otiosus." 



156 LACTANTIUS. 

sake of men ; and rightly so. For men enjoy all these good 
things which the world contains in itself. But they do not 
explain why men themselves were made, or what advantage 
Providence, the Maker of all things, has in them. 

Plato also affirms that souls are immortal, but why, or in 
what manner, or at what time, or by whose instrumentality 
they attain to immortality, or w 7 hat is the nature of that great 
mystery, why those who are about to become immortal are 
previously born mortal, and then, having completed the course l 
of their temporal life, and having laid aside the covering 2 of 
their frail bodies, are transferred to that eternal blessedness, of 
all this he has no comprehension. Finally, he did not explain 
the judgment of God, nor the distinction between the just and 
the unjust, but supposed that the souls which have plunged 
themselves into crimes are condemned thus far, that they may 
be reproduced in the lower animals, and thus atone for their 
offences, until they again return to the forms of men, and that 
this is always taking place, and that there is no end of this 
transmigration. In my opinion, he introduces some sport re 
sembling a dream, in which there appears to be neither plan, 
nor government of God, nor any design. 

CHAP. LXIX. That the world was made on account of man, and 
man on account of God. 

I will now say what is that chief 3 point which not even 
those who spoke the truth were able to connect together, 
bringing into one view causes and reasons. The world was 
made by God, that men might be born ; again, men are born, 
that they may acknowledge God as a Father, in whom is 
wisdom ; they acknowledge Him, that they may worship Him, 
in whom is justice ; they worship Him, that they may receive 
the reward of immortality ; they receive immortality, that they 
may serve God for ever. Do you see how closely connected 
the first are with the middle, and the middle with the last? 
Let us look into them separately, and see whether they are 
consistent 4 with each other. God made the world on account 
of man. He who does not see this, does not differ much from 

" Decurso . . . spatio." The expression is borrowed from a chariot race. 
Corporum exuviis." 3 u Summa." 

4 " Utrumne illis ratio subsistat." 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 157 

a beast. Who but man looks up to the heaven ? who views 
with admiration the sun, who the stars, who all the works of 
God f Who inhabits the earth ? who receives the fruit from 
it? Who has in his power the fishes, who the winged crea 
tures, who the quadrupeds, except man ? Therefore God 
made all things on account of man, because all things have 
turned out for the use of man. 

The philosophers saw this, but they did not see the conse 
quence, that He made man himself on His own account. 
For it was befitting, and pious, and necessary, that since He 
contrived such great works for the sake of man, when He gave 
him so much honour, and so much power, that he should bear 
rule in the world, man should both acknowledge God, the 
Author of such great benefits, who made the world itself on 
his account, and should pay Him the worship and honour 
due to Him. Here Plato erred; here he lost the truth which 
he had at first laid hold of, when he was silent concerning the 
worship of that God whom he confessed to be the framer and 
parent of all things, and did not understand that man is bound 
to God by the ties of piety, whence religion itself receives its 
name, and that this is the only thing on account of which souls 
become immortal. He perceived, however, that they are eter 
nal, but he did not descend by the regular gradations to that 
opinion. For the middle arguments being taken away, he 
rather fell into the truth, as though by some abrupt precipice ; 
nor did he advance further, since he had found the truth by 
accident, and not by reason. Therefore God is to be wor 
shipped, that by means of religion, which is also justice, man 
may receive from God immortality, nor is there any other 
reward of a pious mind ; and if this is invisible, it cannot be 
presented by the invisible God with any reward but that which 
is invisible. 

CHAP. LXX. The immortality of the soul is confirmed. 

It may in truth be collected from many arguments that 
souls are eternal. Plato says that that which always moves 
by itself, and has no beginning of motion, also has no end ; 
but that the soul of man always moves by itself, and because 
it is flexible for reflection, subtle for discovery, easy of per 
ception, adapted to learning, and because it retains the past, 



158 LACTANTIUS. 

comprehends the present, foresees the future, and embraces 
the knowledge of many subjects and arts, that it is immortal, 
since it contains nothing which is mixed with the contagion of 
earthly weight. Moreover, the eternity of the soul is under 
stood from virtue and pleasure. Pleasure is common to all 
animals, virtue belongs only to man; the former is vicious, 
the latter is honourable; the former is in accordance with 
nature, the latter is opposed to nature, unless the soul is 
immortal. For in defence of faith and justice, virtue neither 
fears want, nor is alarmed at exile, nor dreads imprisonment, 
nor shrinks from pain, nor refuses death; and because these 
things are contrary to nature, either virtue is foolishness, if it 
stands in the way of advantages, and is injurious to life ; or if it 
is not foolishness, then the soul is immortal, and despises present 
goods, because other things are preferable which it attains after 
the dissolution of the body. But that is the greatest proof of 
immortality, that man alone has the knowledge of God. In 
the dumb animals there is no notion 1 of religion, because they 
are earthly and bent down to the earth. Man is upright, and 
beholds the heaven for this purpose, that he may seek God. 
Therefore he cannot be other than immortal, who longs for 
the immortal. He cannot be liable to dissolution, who is con 
nected 2 with God both in countenance and mind. Finally, 
man alone makes use of the heavenly element, which is fire. 
For if light is through fire, and life through light, it is evident 
that he who has the use of fire is not mortal, since this is 
closely connected, this is intimately related to Him without 
whom neither light nor life can exist. 

But why do we infer from arguments that souls are eternal, 
when we have divine testimonies ? For the sacred writings and 
the voices of the prophets teach this. And if this appears to 
any one insufficient, let him read the poems of the Sibyls, let 
him also weigh the answers of the Milesian Apollo, that he may 
understand that Democritus, and Epicurus, and Dicsearchus 
raved, who alone of all mortals denied that which is evident. 
Having proved the immortality of the soul, it remains to teach 
by whom, and to whom, and in what manner, and at what 
time, it is given. Since fixed and divinely appointed times 
have begun to be filled up, a destruction and consummation of 

2 U Cum j) eo communis est . 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 159 

all things must of necessity take place, that the world may be 
renewed by God. But that time is at hand, as far as may be 
collected from the number of years, and from the signs which 
are foretold by the prophets. But since the things which have 
been spoken concerning the end of the world and the conclusion 
of the times are innumerable, those very things which are 
spoken are to be laid down without adornment, since it would 
be a boundless task to bring forward the testimonies. If any 
one wishes for them, or does not place full confidence in us, let 
him approach to the very shrine of the heavenly letters, and 
being more fully instructed through their trustworthiness, let 
him perceive that the philosophers have erred, who thought 
either that this world was eternal, or that there would be 
numberless thousands of years from the time when it was pre 
pared. For six thousand years have not yet been completed, and 
when this number shall be made up, then at length all evil will 
be taken away, that justice alone may reign. And how this 
will come to pass, I will explain in few words. 

CHAP. LXXI. Of the last times. 

These things are said by the prophets, but as seers, to be 
about to happen. When the last end shall begin to approach 
to the world, wickedness will increase ; all kinds of vices and 
frauds will become frequent ; justice will perish ; faith, peace, 
mercy, modesty, truth, will have no existence ; violence and 
daring will abound ; no one will have anything, unless it is 
acquired by the hand, and defended by the hand. If there 
shall be any good men, they will be esteemed as a prey and a 
laughing-stock. No one will exhibit filial affection to parents, 
no one will pity an infant or an old man ; avarice and lust 
will corrupt all things. There will be slaughter and blood 
shed. There will be wars, and those not only between foreign 
and neighbouring states, but also intestine wars. States will 
carry on wars among themselves, every sex and age will handle 
arms. The dignity of government will not be preserved, nor 
military discipline ; but after the manner of robbery, there 
will be depredation and devastation. Kingly power will be 
multiplied, and ten men will occupy, portion out, and devour 
the world. There will arise another by far more powerful and 
wicked, who, having destroyed three, will obtain Asia, and 



160 LACTANTIUS. 

having reduced and subdued the others under his own power, 
will harass all the earth. He will appoint new laws, abrogate 
old ones ; he will make the state his own, and will change the 
name and seat of the government. 

Then there will be a dreadful and detestable time, in which 
no one would choose to live. In fine, such will be the condition 
of things, that lamentation will follow the living, and congratu 
lation the dead. Cities and towns will be destroyed, at one 
time by fire and the sword, at another by repeated earthquakes ; 
now by inundation of waters, now by pestilence and famine. 
The earth will produce nothing, being barren either through 
excessive cold or heat. All water will be partly changed into 
blood, partly vitiated by bitterness, so that none of it can be 
useful for food, or wholesome for drinking. To these evils will 
also be added prodigies from heaven, that nothing may be 
wanting to men for causing fear. Comets will frequently 
appear. The sun will be overshadowed with perpetual paleness. 
The moon will be stained with blood, nor will it repair the losses 
of its light taken away. All the stars will fall, nor will the 
seasons preserve their regularity, winter and summer being 
confused. Then both the year, and the month, and the day 
will be shortened. And Trismegistus has declared that this 
is the old age and decline of the world. And when this 
shall have come, it must be known that the time is at hand in 
which God will return to change the world. But in the midst 

O 

of these evils there will arise an impious king, hostile not only 
to mankind, but also to God. He will trample upon, torment, 
harass and put to death those who have been spared by that 
former tyrant. Then there will be ever-flowing tears, perpetual 
wailings and lamentations, and useless prayers to God ; there 
will be no rest from fear, no sleep for a respite. The day will 
always increase disaster, the night alarm. Thus the world will 
be reduced almost to solitude, certainly to fewness of men. 
Then also the impious man will persecute the just and those 
who are dedicated to God, and will give orders that he himself 
shall be worshipped as God. For he will say that he is Christ, 
though he will be His adversary. That he may be believed, he 
\vill receive the power of doing wonders, so that fire may 
descend from heaven, the sun retire from his course, and the 
image which he shall have set up may speak. And by these 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 161 

prodigies he shall entice many to worship him, and to receive 
his sign in their hand or forehead. And he who shall not 
worship him and receive his sign will die with refined tortures. 
Thus he will destroy nearly two parts, the third will flee into 
desolate solitudes. But he, frantic and raging with implacable 
anger, will lead an army and besiege the mountain to which 
the righteous shall have fled. And when they shall see them 
selves besieged, they will implore the aid of God with a loud 
voice, and God shall hear them, and shall send to them a 
deliverer. 

CHAP. LXXII. Of Christ descending from heaven to the general 
judgment, and of the millenarian reign. 

Then the heaven shall be opened in a tempest, 1 and Christ 
shall descend with great power, and there shall go before Him a 
fiery brightness and a countless host of angels, and all that 
multitude of the wicked shall be destroyed, and torrents of blood 
shall flow, and the leader himself shall escape, and having often 
renewed his army, shall for the fourth time engage in battle, in 
which, being taken, with all the other tyrants, he shall be 
delivered up to be burnt. But the prince also of the demons 
himself, the author and contriver of evils, being bound with 
fiery chains, shall be imprisoned, that the world may receive 
peace, and the earth, harassed through so many years, may 
rest. Therefore peace being made, and every evil sup 
pressed, that righteous King and Conqueror will institute a 
great judgment on the earth respecting the living and the 
dead, and will deliver all the nations into subjection to the 
righteous who are alive, and will raise the (righteous) dead to 
eternal life, and will Himself reign with them on the earth, 
and will build the holy city, and this kingdom of the righteous 
shall be for a thousand years. Throughout that time the stars 
shall be more brilliant, and the brightness of the sun shall be 
increased, and the moon shall not be subject to decrease. Then 
the rain of blessing shall descend from God at morning and 
evening, and the earth shall bring forth all her fruit without 
the labour of men. Honey shall drop from rocks, fountains of 
milk and wine shall abound. The beasts shall lay aside their 
ferocity and become mild, the wolf shall roam among the 
1 " In tempcstate ;" others read " intempestu nocte." 

LACT. VOL. II. L 



162 LACTANTWS. 

flocks without doing harm, the calf shall feed with the lion, the 
dove shall be united with the hawk, the serpent shall have no 
poison ; no animal shall live by bloodshed. For God shall 
supply to all abundant and harmless 1 food. But when the 
thousand years shall be fulfilled, and the prince of the 
demons loosed, the nations will rebel against the righteous, 
and an innumerable multitude will come to storm, the city of 
the saints. Then the last judgment of God will come to pass 
against the nations. For He will shake the earth from its 
foundations, and the cities shall be overthrown, and He shall 
rain upon the wicked fire with brimstone and hail, and they 
shall be on fire, and slay each other. But the righteous shall 
for a little space be concealed under the earth, until the 
destruction of the nations is accomplished, and after the third 
day they shall come forth, and see the plains covered with 
carcases. Then there shall be an earthquake, and the moun 
tains shall be rent, and valleys shall sink down to a profound 
depth, and into this the bodies of the dead shall be heaped 
together, and its name shall be called Polyandrion. 2 After 
these things God will renew the world, and transform the 
righteous into the forms of angels, that, being presented with 
the garment of immortality, they may serve God for ever ; and 
this will be the kingdom of God, which shall have no end. 
Then also the wicked shall rise again, not to life but to 
punishment ; for God shall raise these also, when the second 
resurrection takes place, that, being condemned to eternal 
torments and delivered to eternal fires, they may suffer the 
punishments which they deserve for their crimes. 

CHAP. LXXIII. The hope of safety is in the religion and 
worship of God. 

Wherefore, since all these things are true and certain, in 
harmony with the predicted announcement of the prophets, 
since Trismegistus and Hystaspes and the Sibyls have foretold 
the same things, it cannot be doubted that all hope of life and 
salvation is placed in the religion of God alone. Therefore, unless 
a man shall have received Christ, whom God has sent, and is 

1 " Innocentem," without injury to any. 

2 A name sometimes given to cemeteries, because many men 

are "borne thither. 



EPITOME OF THE DIVINE INSTITUTES. 163 

about to send for our redemption, unless he shall have known 
the supreme God through Christ, unless he shall have kept His 
commandments and law, he will fall into those punishments of 
which we have spoken. Therefore frail things must be de 
spised, that we may gain those which are substantial ; earthly 
.things must be scorned, that we may be honoured with heavenly 
things ; temporal things must be shunned, that we may reach 
those which are eternal. Let every one train himself to justice, 
mould himself to self-restraint, prepare himself for the contest, 
equip himself for virtue, that if by any chance an adversary 
shall wage war, he may be driven from that which is upright 
and good by no force, no terror, and no tortures, may give 1 
himself up to no senseless fictions, but in his uprightness 
acknowledge the true and only God, may cast away pleasures, 
by the attractions of which the lofty soul is depressed to the 
earth, may hold fast innocency, may be of service to as many 
as possible, may gain for himself incorruptible treasures by 
good works, that he may be able, with God for his judge, to 
gain for the merits of his virtue either the crown of faith, or 
the reward of immortality. 

1 " Se substernet." 




OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THE 
PERSECUTORS DIED. 

CHAPTER i. 

HE Lord has heard those supplications which you, my 
best beloved Donatus, pour forth in His presence 
all the day long, and the supplications of the rest 
of our brethren, who by a glorious confession have 
obtained an everlasting crown, the reward of their faith. 
Behold, all the adversaries are destroyed, and tranquillity 
having been re-established throughout the Roman empire, 
the late oppressed Church arises again, and the temple of God, 
overthrown by the hands of the wicked, is built with more 
glory than before. For God has raised up princes to rescind 
the impious and sanguinary edicts of the tyrants and provide 
for the welfare of mankind ; so that now the cloud of past 
times is dispelled, and peace and serenity gladden all hearts. 
And after the furious whirlwind and black tempest, the 
heavens are now become calm, and the wished-for light has 
shone forth ; and now God, the hearer of prayer, by His 
divine aid has lifted His prostrate and afflicted servants from 
the ground, has brought to an end the united devices of the 
wicked, and wiped off the tears from the faces of those who 
mourned. They who insulted over the Divinity, lie low ; they 
who cast down the holy temple, are fallen with more tremen 
dous ruin ; and the tormentors of just men have poured out 
their guilty souls amidst plagues inflicted by Heaven, and 
amidst deserved tortures. For God delayed to punish them, 
that, by great and marvellous examples, He might teach pos 
terity that He alone is God, and that with fit vengeance He 

164 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 165 

executes judgment on the proud, the impious ; and the per 
secutors. 

Of the end of those men I have thought good to publish a 
narrative, that all who are afar off, and all who shall arise 
hereafter, may learn how the Almighty manifested His power 
and sovereign greatness in rooting out and utterly destroying 
the enemies of His name. And this will become evident, when 
I relate ivho were the persecutors of the Church from the time 
of its first constitution, and ivJiat were the punishments by 
which the divine Judge, in His seventy, took vengeance on 
them. 

CHAPTER n. 

In the latter days of the Emperor Tiberius, in the consul 
ship of Ruberius Geminus and Fufius Geminus, and on the 
tenth of the kalends of April (23d of March), as I find it 
written, Jesus Christ was crucified by the Jews. After He 
had risen again on the third day, He gathered together His 
apostles, whom fear, at the time of His being laid hold on, had 
put to flight ; and while He sojourned with them forty days, 
He opened their hearts, interpreted to them the Scripture, 
which hitherto had been wrapped up in obscurity, ordained 
and fitted them for the preaching of His word and doctrine, 
and regulated all things concerning the institutions of the New 
Testament; and this having been accomplished, a cloud and 
whirlwind enveloped Him, and caught Him up from the sight 
of men unto heaven. 

His apostles were at that time eleven in number, to whom 
were added Matthias, in the room of the traitor Judas, and 
afterwards Paul. Then were they dispersed throughout all 
the earth to preach the gospel, as the Lord their Master had 
commanded them ; and during twenty-five years, and until the 
beginning of the reign of the Emperor Nero, they occupied 
themselves in laying the foundations of the Church in every 
province and city. And while Nero reigned, the Apostle Peter 
came to Rome, and, through the power of God committed unto 
him, wrought certain miracles, and, by turning many to the true 
religion, built up a faithful and stedfast temple unto the Lord. 
When Nero heard of those things, and observed that not only 
in Rome, but in every other place, a great multitude revolted 



166 LACTANTWS. 

daily from the worship of idols, and, condemning their old ways, 
went over to the new religion, he, an execrable and pernicious 
tyrant, sprung forward to raze the heavenly temple and destroy 
the true faith. He it was who first persecuted the servants of 
God ; he crucified Peter, and slew Paul : nor did he escape with 
impunity ; for God looked on the affliction of His people ; and 
therefore the tyrant, bereaved of authority, and precipitated 
from the height of empire, suddenly disappeared, and even the 
burial-place of that noxious wild beast was nowhere to be seen. 
This has led some persons of extravagant imagination to sup 
pose that, having been conveyed to a distant region, he is still 
reserved alive ; and to him they apply the Sibylline verses con 
cerning " the fugitive, who slew his own mother, beino; to come 
from the uttermost boundaries of the earth ; " as if he who was 
the first should also be the last persecutor, and thus prove the 
forerunner of Antichrist ! But we ought not to believe those 
who, affirming that the two prophets Enoch and Elias have 
been translated into some remote place that they might attend 
our Lord when He shall come to judgment, also fancy that 
Nero is to appear hereafter as the forerunner of the devil, 
when he shall come to lay waste the earth and overthrow 
mankind. 

CHAPTER in. 

After an interval of some years from the death of Nero, 
there arose another tyrant no less wicked (Domitian), who, 
although his government was exceedingly odious, for a very 
long time oppressed his subjects, and reigned in security, until 
at length he stretched forth his impious hands against the 
Lord. Having been instigated by evil demons to persecute 
the righteous people, he was then delivered into the power of 
his enemies, and suffered due punishment. To be murdered in 
his own palace was not vengeance ample enough: the very 
memory of his name was erased. For although he had erected 
many admirable edifices, and rebuilt the Capitol, and left other 
distinguished marks of his magnificence, yet the senate did so 
persecute his name, as to leave no remains of his statues, or 
traces of the inscriptions put up in honour of him; and by 
most solemn and severe decrees it branded him, even after- 
death, with perpetual infamy. Thus, the commands of the 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 167 

tyrant having been rescinded, the Church was not only restored 
to her former state, but she shone forth with additional splen 
dour, and became more and more flourishing. And in the 
times that followed, while many well-deserving princes guided 
the helm of the Roman empire, the Church suffered no violent 
assaults from her enemies, and she extended her hands unto 
the east and unto the west, insomuch that now there was not 
any the most remote corner of the earth to which the divine 
religion had not penetrated, or any nation of manners so 
barbarous that did not, by being converted to the worship of 
God, become mild and gentle. 

CHAPTER iv. 

This long peace, however, was afterwards interrupted. 
Decius appeared in the world, an accursed wild beast, to 
afflict the Church, and wlio but a bad man would persecute 
religion ? It seems as if he had been raised to sovereign 
eminence, at once to rage against God, and at once to fall; 
for, having undertaken an expedition against the Carpi, who 
had then possessed themselves of Dacia and Moefia, he was 
suddenly surrounded by the barbarians, and slain, together 
with great part of his army ; nor could he be honoured with 
the rites of sepulture, but, stripped and naked, he lay to be 
devoured by wild beasts and birds, a fit end for the enemy of 
God! 

CHAPTER v. 

And presently Valerian also, in a mood alike frantic, lifted 
up his impious hands to assault God, and, although his time 
was short, shed much righteous blood. But God punished him 
in a new and extraordinary manner, that it might be a lesson 
to future ages that the adversaries of Heaven always receive 
the just recompense of their iniquities. He, having been made 
prisoner by the Persians, lost not only that power which he had 
exercised without moderation, but also the- liberty of which he 
had deprived others ; and he wasted the remainder of his days 
in the vilest condition of slavery: for Sapores, the king of 
the Persians, who had made him prisoner, whenever he chose 
to get into his carriage or to mount on horseback, commanded 
the Roman to stoop and present his back ; then, setting his foot 



168 LACTANTIUS. 

on the shoulders of Valerian, he said, with a smile of reproach, 
" This is true, and not what the Romans delineate on board or 
plaster." Valerian lived for a considerable time under the well- 
merited insults of his conqueror ; so that the Roman name re 
mained long the scoff and derision of the barbarians : and this 
also was added to the severity of his punishment, that although 
he had an emperor for his son, he found no one to revenge 
his captivity and most abject and servile state ; neither indeed 
was he ever demanded back. Afterward, when he had finished 
this shameful life under so great dishonour, he was flayed, and 
his skin, stripped from the flesh, was dyed with vermilion, and 
placed in the temple of the gods of the barbarians, that the 
remembrance of a triumph so signal might be perpetuated, and 
that this spectacle might always be exhibited to our ambas 
sadors, as an admonition to the Romans, that, beholding the 
spoils of their captived emperor in a Persian temple, they 
should not place too great confidence in their own strength. 

Now since God so punished the sacrilegious, is it not strange 
that any one should afterward have dared to do, or even to 
devise, aught against the majesty of the one God, who governs 
and supports all things ? 

CHAPTER vi. 

Aurelian might have recollected the fate of the captived 
emperor, yet, being of a nature outrageous and headstrong, 
he forgot both his sin and its punishment, and by deeds of 
cruelty irritated the divine wrath. He was not, however, 
permitted to accomplish what he had devised ; for just as he 
began to give a loose to his rage, he was slain. His bloody 
edicts had not yet reached the more distant provinces, when he 
himself lay all bloody on the earth at Caenophrurium in Thrace, 
assassinated by his familiar friends, who had taken up ground 
less suspicions against him. 

Examples of such a nature, and so numerous, ought to have 
deterred succeeding tyrants; nevertheless they were not only 
not dismayed, but, in their misdeeds against God, became more 
bold and presumptuous. 

CHAPTER vn. 
While Diocletian, that author of ill, and deviser of misery, 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 169 

was ruining all things, he could not withhold his insults, not 
even against God. This man, by avarice partly, and partly 
by timid counsels, overturned the Roman empire : for he made 
choice of three persons to share the government with him ; and 
thus, the empire having been quartered, armies were multiplied, 
and each of the four princes strove to maintain a much more 
considerable military force than any sole emperor had done in 
times past. There began to be fewer men who paid taxes than 
there were who received wages ; so that the means of the hus 
bandmen being exhausted by enormous impositions, the farms 
were abandoned, cultivated grounds became woodland, and uni 
versal dismay prevailed. Besides, the provinces were divided 
into minute portions, and many presidents and a multitude 
of inferior officers lay heavy on each territory, and almost on 
each city. There were also many stewards of different degrees, 
and deputies of presidents. Very few civil causes came before 
them : but there were condemnations daily, and forfeitures fre 
quently inflicted ; taxes on numberless commodities, and those 
not only often repeated, but perpetual, and, in exacting them, 
intolerable wrongs. 

Whatever was laid on for the maintenance of the soldiery 
might have been endured ; but Diocletian, through his insati 
able avarice, would never allow the sums of money in his trea 
sury to be diminished : he was constantly heaping together 
extraordinary aids and free gifts, that his original hoards might 
remain untouched and inviolable. He also, when by various 
extortions he had made all things exceedingly dear, attempted 
by an ordinance to limit their prices. Then much blood was 
shed for the veriest trifles ; men were afraid to expose aught to 
sale, and the scarcity became more excessive and grievous than 
ever, until, in the end, the ordinance, after having proved 
destructive to multitudes, was from mere necessity abrogated. 
To this there were added a certain endless passion for building, 
and, on that account, endless exactions from the provinces for 
furnishing wages to labourers and artificers, and supplying 
carriages and whatever else was requisite to the works which 
he projected. Here public halls, there a circus, here a mint, 
and there a workhouse for making implements of war ; in one 
place an habitation for his empress, and in another for his 
daughter. Presently great part of the city was quitted, and 



170 LACTANTIUS. 

all men removed with their wives and children, as from a 
town taken by enemies ; and when those buildings were com 
pleted, to the destruction of whole provinces, he said, u They 
are not right, let them be done on another plan." Then 
they were to be pulled down, or altered, to undergo perhaps 
a future demolition. By such folly was he continually 
endeavouring to equal Nicomedia with the city Rome in mag 
nificence. 

I omit mentioning how many perished on account of their 
possessions or wealth ; for such evils were exceedingly frequent, 
and through their frequency appeared almost lawful. But 
this was peculiar to him, that whenever he saw a field remark 
ably well cultivated, or a house of uncommon elegance, a false 
accusation and a capital punishment were straightway prepared 
against the proprietor ; so that it seemed as if Diocletian could 
not be guilty of rapine without also shedding blood. 

CHAPTER vin. 

What was the character of his brother in empire, Maximian, 
called Herculius ? Not unlike to that of Diocletian ; and, indeed, 
to render their friendship so close and faithful as it was, there 
must have been in them a sameness of inclinations and pur 
poses, a corresponding will and unanimity in judgment. 
Herein alone they were different, that Diocletian was more 
avaricious an.d less resolute, and that Maximian, with less 
avarice, had a bolder spirit, prone not to good, but to evil. 
For while he possessed Italy, itself the chief seat of empire, 
and while other very opulent provinces, such as Africa and 
Spain, were near at hand, he took little care to preserve those 
treasures which he had such fair opportunities of amassing. 
Whenever he stood in need of more, the richest senators were 
presently charged, by suborned evidences, as guilty of aspiring 
to the empire ,- so that the chief luminaries of the senate were 
daily extinguished. And thus the treasury, delighting in blood, 
overflowed with ill-gotten wealth. 

Add to all this the incontinency of that pestilent wretch, not 
only in debauching males, which is hateful and abominable, but 
also in the violation of the daughters of the principal men of 
the state; for wherever he journeyed, virgins were suddenly 
torn from the presence of their parents. In such enormities he 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 171 

placed his supreme delight, and to indulge to the utmost his 
lust and flagitious desires was in his judgment the felicity of 
his reign. 

I pass over Constantius, a prince unlike the others, and worthy 
to have had the sole government of the empire. 

CHAPTER ix. 

But the other Maximian (Galerius), chosen by Diocletian 
for his son-in-law, was worse, not only than those two princes 
whom our own times have experienced, but worse than all the 
bad princes of former days. In this wild beast there dwelt a 
native barbarity and a savageness foreign to Roman blood ; and 
no wonder, for his mother was born beyond the Danube, and it 
was an inroad of the Carpi that obliged her to cross over and 
take refuge in New Dacia. The form of Galerius corresponded 
with his mariners. Of stature tall, full of flesh, and swollen to 
a horrible bulk of corpulency ; by his speech, gestures, and 
looks, he made himself a terror to all that came near him. His 
father-in-law, too, dreaded him excessively. The cause was this. 
Narseus, king of the Persians, emulating the example set him 
by his grandfather Sapores, assembled a great army, and aimed 
at becoming master of the eastern provinces of the Roman 
empire. Diocletian, apt to be low-spirited and timorous in 
every commotion, and fearing a fate like that of Valerian, 
would not in person encounter Narseus ; but he sent Galerius 
by the way of Armenia, while he himself halted in the eastern 
provinces, and anxiously watched the event. It is a custom 
amongst the barbarians to take everything that belongs to them 
into the field. Galerius laid an ambush for them, and easily 
overthrew men embarrassed with the multitude of their fol 
lowers and with their baggage. Having put Narseus to flight, 
and returned with much spoil, his own pride and Diocletian s 
fears were greatly increased. For after this victory he rose to 
such a pitch of haughtiness as to reject the appellation of Caesar; 
and when he heard that appellation in letters addressed to him, 
he cried out, with a stern look and terrible voice, " How long 
am I to be Ccesar ? " Then he began to act extravagantly, 
insomuch that, as if he had been a second Romulus, he wished 
to pass for and to be called the offspring of Mars ; and that he 
might appear the issue of a divinity, he was willing that his 






172 LACTANTIUS. 

mother Eomula should be dishonoured with the name of 
adulteress. But, not to confound the chronological order of 
events, I delay the recital of his actions ; for indeed afterwards, 
when Galerius 2;ot the title of emperor, his father-in-law having 
been divested of the imperial purple, he became altogether 
outrageous, and of unbounded arrogance. 

While by such a conduct, and with such associates, Diocles 
for that was the name of Diocletian before he attained sove 
reignty occupied himself in subverting the commonweal, there 
was no evil which his crimes did not deserve : nevertheless he 
reigned most prosperously, as long as he forbore to defile his 
hands with the blood of the just; and what cause he had for 
persecuting them, I come now to explain. 

r\ 

CHAPTER x. ^ ">< ^ v r^ 

Diocletian, as being of a timorous disposition, was a searcher 
into futurity, and during his abode in the East he began to 
slay victims, that from their livers he might obtain a prognostic 
of events ; and while he sacrificed, some attendants of his, who 
were Christians, stood by, and they put the immortal sign on 
their foreheads. At this the demons were chased away, and 
the holy rites interrupted. The soothsayers trembled, unable to 
investigate the wonted marks on the entrails of the victims. 
They frequently repeated the sacrifices, as if the former had 
been unpropitious ; but the victims, slain from time to time, 
afforded no tokens for divination. At length Tages, the chief 
of the soothsayers, either from guess or from his own observa 
tion, said, " There are profane persons here, who obstruct the 
rites." Then Diocletian, in furious passion, ordered not only 
all who were assisting at the holy ceremonies, but also all who 
resided within the palace, to sacrifice, and, in case of their 
refusal, to be scourged. And further, by letters to the com 
manding officers, he enjoined that all soldiers should be 
forced to the like impiety, under pain of being dismissed the 
service. Thus far his rage proceeded ; but at that season he 
did nothing more against the law and religion of God. After 
an interval of some time he went to winter in Bithynia ; and 
presently Galerius Caesar came thither, inflamed with furious 
resentment, and purposing to excite the inconsiderate old man 
to carry on that persecution which he had begun against the 



v , 

, ( I ../v\fl V f.ft / V< tV I / fl 



***** V 

THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 173 

Christians. I have learned that the cause of his fury was 
as follows. 



CHAPTER xi. (jiAW** 

The mother of Galerius, a woman exceedingly superstitious, 
was a votary of the gods of the mountains. Being of such a 
character, she made sacrifices almost every day, and she feasted 
her servants on the meat offered to idols : but the Christians of 
her family would not partake of those entertainments ; and 
while she feasted with the Gentiles, they continued in fasting 
and prayer. On this account she conceived ill-will against the 
Christians, and by woman-like complaints instigated her son, 
no less superstitious than herself, to destroy them. So, durino- 
the whole winter, Diocletian and Galerius held councils together, 
at which no one else assisted ; and it was the universal opinion 
that their conferences respected the most momentous affairs of 
the empire. The old man long opposed the fury of Galerius, and 
showed how pernicious it would be to raise disturbances through 
out the world and to shed so much blood ; that the Christians 
were wont with eagerness to meet death ; and that it would be 
enough for him to exclude persons of that religion from the 
court and the army. Yet he could not restrain the madness of 
that obstinate man. He resolved, therefore, to take the opinion 
of his friends. Now this was a circumstance in the bad dis 
position of Diocletian, that whenever he determined to do good, 
he did it without advice, that the praise might be all his own ; 
but whenever he determined to do ill, which he was sensible 
would be blamed, he called in many advisers, that his own fault 
might be imputed to other men : and therefore a few civil 
magistrates, and a few military commanders, were admitted to 
give their counsel ; and the question was put to them according 
to priority of rank. Some, through personal ill-will towards 
the Christians, were of opinion that they ought to be cut off, 
as enemies of the gods and adversaries of the established 
religious ceremonies. Others thought differently, but, having 
understood the will of Galerius, they, either from dread of dis 
pleasing or from a desire of gratifying him, concurred in the 
opinion given against the Christians. Yet not even then could 
the emperor be prevailed upon to yield his assent. He deter 
mined above all to consult his gods ; and to that end lie 



v 



17 4 LACTANTIUS. 

despatched a soothsayer to inquire of Apollo at Miletus, whose 
answer was such as might be expected from an enemy of the 
divine religion. So Diocletian was drawn over from his pur 
pose. But although he could struggle no longer against his 
friends, and against Caesar and Apollo, yet still he attempted to 
observe such moderation as to command the business to be 
carried through without bloodshed; whereas Galerius would 
have had all persons burnt alive who refused to sacrifice. 

CHAPTER xn. V^f < 

A fit and auspicious day was sought out for the accomplish 
ment of this undertaking ; and the festival of the god Terminus, 
celebrated on the seventh of the kalends of March (23d 
February), was chosen, in preference to all others, to terminate, 
as it were, the Christian religion. 

" That day, the harbinger of death, arose, 
First cause of ill, and long enduring woes ; " 

of w r oes which befell not only the Christians, but the whole 
earth. When that day dawned, in the eighth consulship of 
Diocletian and seventh of Maximian, suddenly, while it was 
yet hardly light, the prefect, together with chief commanders, 
tribunes, and officers of the treasury, came to the church in 
Nicomedia, and the gates having been forced open, they 
searched everywhere for an image of the Divinity. \/The books 
of the Holy Scriptures were found, and they were committed to 
the flames; the utensils and furniture of the church were 
abandoned to pillage : all was rapine, confusion, tumult. That 
church, situated on rising ground, was within view of the 
palace ; and Diocletian and Galerius stood, as if on a watch- 
tower, disputing long whether it ought to be set on fire. The 
sentiment of Diocletian prevailed, who dreaded lest, so great a 
fire being once kindled, some part of the city might be burnt ; 
for there were many and large buildings that surrounded the 
church. Then the Pretorian Guards came in battle array, with 
axes and other iron instruments, and having been let loose 
everywhere, they in a few hours levelled that very lofty edifice 
with the ground. 

CHAPTER xm. cU ( 
Next day an edict was published, depriving the Christians of 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 175 

all honours and dignities; ordaining also that, without any 
distinction of rank or degree, they should be subjected to 
tortures, and that every suit at law; should be received against 
them ; while, on the other hand, ftfiey were debarred from being f 
plaintiffs in questions of wrong, adultery, or theft ; and, finally, 
that they should neither be capable of freedom, nor have right 
of suffrage. A certain person tore down this edict, and cut it 
in pieces, improperly indeed, but with high spirit, saying in 
scorn, " These are the triumphs of Goths and Sarmatians." 
Having been instantly seized and brought to judgment, he was 
not only tortured, but burnt alive, in the forms of law ; and 
having displayed admirable patience under sufferings, he was 
consumed to ashes. 

taU "^ 
CHAPTER xiv. 5^ * < p* r <-i 

But Galerius, not satisfied with the tenor of the edict, sought 
in another way to gain on the emperor. \yThat he might urge 
him to excess of cruelty in persecution, he employed private 
emissaries to set the palace on fire ; and some part of it having 
been burnt, the blame was laid on the Christians as public 
enemies ; and the very appellation of Christian grew odious on 
account of that fire. ^It was said that the Christians, in 
concert with the eunuchs, had plotted to destroy the princes; \V 
and that both of the princes had well-nigh been burnt alive in 
their own palace. Diocletian, shrewd and intelligent as he 
always chose to appear, suspected nothing of the contrivance, 
but, inflamed with anger, immediately commanded that all his 
own domestics should be tortured to force a confession of the 
plot. He sat on his tribunal, and saw innocent men tormented 
by fire to make discovery. All magistrates, and all who had 
superintendency in the imperial place, obtained special commis 
sions to administer the torture ; and they strove with each other 
who should be first in bringing to light the conspiracy. No 
circumstances, however, of the fact were detected anywhere ; 
for no one applied the torture to any domestics of Galerius. 
He himself was ever with Diocletian, constantly urging him, 
and never allowing the passions of the inconsiderate old man to 
cool. Then, after an interval of fifteen days, he attempted a 
second fire ; but that was perceived quickly, and extinguished. 



17 G LACTANTIUS. 

Still, however, its author remained unknown. On that very 
day, Galerius, who in the middle of winter had prepared for 
his departure, suddenly hurried out of the city, protesting that 
he fled to escape being burnt alive. 

CHAPTER xv. w^ p^ ( 

And now Diocletian raged, not only against his own do 
mestics, but indiscriminately against all ; and he began by 
forcing his daughter Valeria and his wife Prisca to be polluted 
by sacrificing. Eunuchs, once the most powerful, and who had 
chief authority at court and with the emperor, were slain. 
Presbyters and other officers of the Church were seized, without 
evidence by witnesses or confession, condemned, and together 
with their families led to execution. In burning alive, no 
distinction of sex or age was regarded ; and because of their 
great multitude, they were not burnt one after another, but a 
herd of them were encircled with the same fire ; and servants, 
having millstones tied about their necks, were cast into the 
sea. Nor was the persecution less grievous on the rest of the 
people of God; for the judges, dispersed through all the 
temples, sought to compel every one to sacrifice. The prisons 
were crowded; tortures, hitherto unheard of, were invented; and 
lest justice should be inadvertently administered to a Christian, 
altars were placed in the courts of justice, hard by the tribunal, 
that every litigant might offer incense before his cause could 
be heard. Thus judges were no otherwise approached than 
divinities. Mandates also had gone to Maximian Herculius 
and Constantius, requiring their concurrence in the execution 
of the edicts ; for in matters even of such mighty importance 
vl their opinion was never once asked. Herculius, a person of no 
merciful temper, yielded ready obedience, and enforced the 
edicts throughout his dominions of Italy. Constantius, on the 
other hand, lest he should have seemed to dissent from the 
injunctions of his superiors, permitted the demolition of 
churches, mere walls, and capable of being built up again, 
but he preserved entire that true temple of God, which is 
the human body. 

CHAPTER xvi. 
Thus was all the earth afflicted; and from east to west, 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 177 

except in the territories of Gaul, three ravenous wild beasts 
continued to rage. 

" Had I a hundred mouths, a hundred tongues, 
A voice of brass, and adamantine lungs, 
Not half the dreadful scene could I disclose," 

or recount the punishments inflicted by the rulers in every 
province on religious and innocent men. 

But what need of a particular recital of those things, especi- 
ally to you, my best beloved Donatus, who above all others 
was exposed to the storm of that violent persecution ? For 
when you had fallen into the hands of the prefect Flaccinian, 
no puny murderer, and afterwards of Hierocles, who from a 
deputy became president of Bithynia, the author and adviser 
of the persecution, and last of all into the hands of his suc 
cessor Priscillian, you displayed to mankind a pattern of invin 
cible magnanimity. Having been nine times exposed to racks 
and diversified torments, nine times by a glorious profession of 
your faith you foiled the adversary ; in nine combats you sub 
dued the devil and his chosen soldiers ; and by nine victories 
you triumphed over this world and its terrors. How pleasing 
the spectacle to God, when He beheld you a conqueror, yoking 
in your chariot not white horses, or enormous elephants, but 
those very men who had led captive the nations ! After this 
sort to lord it over the lords of the earth is triumph indeed ! 
Now, by your valour were they conquered, when you set at 
defiance their flagitious edicts, and, through stedfast faith and 
the fortitude of your soul, you routed all the vain terrors of 
tyrannical authority. Against you neither scourges, nor iron 
claws, nor fire, nor sword, nor various kinds of torture, availed 
aught ; and no violence could bereave you of your fidelity and 
persevering resolution. This it is to be a disciple of God, and 
this it is to be a soldier of Christ ; a soldier whom no enemy 
can dislodge, or wolf snatch, from the heavenly camp ; no 
artifice ensnare, or pain of body subdue, or torments overthrow. 
At length, after those nine glorious combats, in which the 
devil was vanquished by you, he dared not to enter the lists 
again with one whom, by repeated trials, he had found un 
conquerable ; and he abstained from challenging you any more, 
lest you should have laid hold on the garland of victory already 
stretched out to you; an unfading garland, which, although 

LACT. VOL. II. M 



178 LACTANTIUS. 

you have not at present received it, is laid up in the kingdom 
of the Lord for your virtue and deserts. But let us now 
return to the course of our narrative. 

CHAPTER xvn. : 

The wicked plan having been carried into execution, Dio 
cletian, whom prosperity had now abandoned, set out instantly 
for Rome, there to celebrate the commencement of the twentieth 
year of his reign. That solemnity was performed on the twelfth 
of the kalends of December (20th November) ; and suddenly 
the emperor, unable to bear the Roman freedom of speech, 
peevishly and impatiently burst away from the city. The 
kalends of January (1st of January) approached, at which day 
the consulship, for the ninth time, was to be offered to him ; 
yet, rather than continue thirteen days longer in Rome, he 
chose that his first appearance as consul should be at Ravenna. 
Having, however, begun his journey in winter, amidst intense 
cold and incessant rains, he contracted a slight but lingering 
disease : it harassed him without intermission, so that he was 
obliged for the most part to be carried in a litter. Then, at 
the close of summer, he made a circuit along the banks of the 
Danube, and so came to Nicomedia. His disease had now 
become more grievous and oppressing ; yet he caused himself 
to be brought out, in order to dedicate that circus which, at 
the conclusion of the twentieth year of his reign, he had erected. 
Immediately he grew so languid and feeble, that prayers for 
his life were put up to all the gods. Then suddenly, on the 
ides of December (13th December), there was heard in the 
palace sorrow, and weeping, and lamentation, and the courtiers 
ran to and fro ; there was silence throughout the city, and a 
report went of the death, and even of the burial, of Diocletian : 
but early on the morrow it was suddenly rumoured that he still 
lived. At this the countenance of his domestics and courtiers 
changed from melancholy to gay. Nevertheless there were 
who suspected his death to be kept secret until the arrival of 
Galerius Caesar, lest in the meanwhile the soldiery should 
attempt some change in the government; and this suspicion 
grew so universal, that no one would believe the emperor alive, 
until, on the kalends of March (1st March), he appeared in 
public, but so wan, his illness having lasted almost a year, as 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 179 

hardly to be known again. The fit of stupor, resembling death, 
happened on the ides of December ; and although he in some 
measure recovered, yet he never attained to perfect health 
again, for he became disordered in his judgment, being at 
certain times insane and at others of sound mind. 

CHAPTER xvm. 

Within a few days Galerius Caesar arrived, not to congratu 
late his father-in-law on the re-establishment of his health, but 
to force him to resign the empire. Already he had urged 
Maximian Herculius to the like purpose, and by the alarm of 
civil wars terrified the old man into compliance ; and he now 
assailed Diocletian. At first, in gentle and friendly terms, he 
said that age and growing infirmities disabled Diocletian for 
the charge of the commonweal, and that he had need to give 
himself some repose after his labours. Galerius, in confirma 
tion of his argument, produced the example of Nerva, who laid 
the weight of empire on Trajan. 

But Diocletian made answer, that it was unfit for one who 
had held a rank, eminent above all others and conspicuous, to 
sink into the obscurity of a low station; neither indeed was it safe, 
because in the course of so long a reign he must unavoidably 
have made many enemies. That the case of Nerva was very 
different : he, after having reigned a single year, felt himself, 
either from age or from inexperience in business, unequal to 
affairs so momentous, and therefore threw aside the helm of 
government, and returned to that private life in which he had 
already grown old. But Diocletian added, that if Galerius 
wished for the title of emperor, there was nothing to hinder its 
being conferred on him and Constantius, as well as on Maxi 
mian Herculius. 

Galerius, whose imagination already grasped at the whole 
empire, saw that little but an unsubstantial name would accrue 
to him from this proposal, and therefore replied that the 
settlement made by Diocletian himself ought to be inviolable ; 
a settlement which provided that there should be two of 
higher rank vested with supreme power, and two others of 
inferior, to assist them. Easily might concord be preserved 
between two equals, never amongst four ; that he, if Diocletian 
would not resign, must consult his own interests, so as to remain 



180 LACTANTIUS. 

no longer in an inferior rank, and the last of that rank ; that 
for fifteen years past he had been confined, as an exile, to 
Illyricum and the banks of the Danube, perpetually struggling 
against barbarous nations, while others, at their ease, governed 
dominions more extensive than his, and better civilised. 

Diocletian already knew, by letters from Maximian Herculius, 
all that Galerius had spoken at their conference, and also that 
he was augmenting his army; and now, on hearing his dis 
course, the spiritless old man burst into tears, and said, " Be it 
as you will." 

It remained to choose Ccesars by common consent. "But," said 
Galerius, " why ask the advice of Maximian and Constantius, 
since they must needs acquiesce in whatever we do?" " Certainly 
they will," replied Diocletian, " for we must elect their sons." 

Now Maximian Herculius had a son, Maxentius, married to 
the daughter of Galerius, a man of bad and mischievous dis 
positions, and so proud and stubborn withal, that he would 
never pay the wonted obeisance either to his father or father- 
in-law, and on that account he was hated by them both. 
Constantius also had a son, Constantine, a young man of very 
great worth, and well meriting the high station of Ccesar. The 
distinguished comeliness of his figure, his strict attention to 
all military duties, his virtuous demeanour and singular affa 
bility, had endeared him to the troops, and made him the choice 
of every individual. He was then at court, having long before 
been created by Diocletian a tribune of the first order. 

" What is to be done ?" said Galerius, li for that Maxentius 
deserves not the office. He who, while yet a private man, has 
treated me with contumely, how will he act when once he 
obtains power?" "But Constantine is amiable, and will so 
rule as hereafter, in the opinion of mankind, to surpass the 
mild virtues of his father." " Be it so, if my inclinations and 
judgment are to be disregarded. Men ought to be appointed 
who are at my disposal, who will dread me, and never do any 
thing unless by my orders." "Whom then shall we appoint?" 
" Severus." " How ! that dancer, that habitual drunkard, 
who turns night into day, and day into night ?" " He deserves 
the office, for he has approved himself a faithful paymaster 
and purveyor of the army ; and, indeed, I have already de 
spatched him to receive the purple from the hands of Maxi- 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 181 

mian." "Well, I consent; but whom else do you suggest?" 
" Him," said Galerius, pointing out Daia, a young man, half- 
barbarian. Now Galerius had lately bestowed part of his own 
name on that youth, and called him Maximin, in like manner 
as Diocletian formerly bestowed on Galerius the name of 
Mazimian, for the omen s sake, because Maximian Herculius 
had served him with unshaken fidelity. " Who is that you 
present?" "A kinsman of mine." "Alas!" said Diocletian, 
heaving a deep sigh, "you do not propose men fit for the charge 
of public affairs !" "I have tried them." "Then do you look 
to it, who are about to assume the administration of the empire : 
as for me, while I continued emperor, long and diligent have 
been my labours in providing for the security of the common 
weal; and now, should anything disastrous ensue, the blame 
will not be mine." 

CHAPTER xix. 

Matters having been thus concerted, Diocletian and Galerius 
xvent in procession to publish the nomination of CcBsars. 
Every one looked at Constantine; for there was no doubt 
that the choice would fall on him. The troops present, as 
well as the chief soldiers of the other legions, who had 
been summoned to the solemnity, fixed their eyes on Con 
stantine, exulted in the hope of his approaching election, 
and occupied themselves in prayers for his prosperity. Near 
three miles from Nicomedia there is an eminence, on the sum 
mit of which Galerius formerly received the purple ; and there 
a pillar, with the statue of Jupiter, was placed. Thither the 
procession went. An assembly of the soldiers was called. 
Diocletian, with tears, harangued them, and said that he was 
become infirm, that he needed repose after his fatigues, and 
that he would resign the empire into hands more vigorous and 
able, and at the same time appoint new Ccesars. The specta 
tors, with the utmost earnestness, waited for the nomination. 
Suddenly he declared that the Cwsarswere Severus and Maximin. 
The amazement was universal. Constantine stood near in 
public view, and men began to question amongst themselves 
whether his name too had not been changed into Maximin; 
when, in the sight of all, Galerius, stretching back his hand, 
put Constantine aside, and drew Daia forward, and, having 



182 LACTANT1US. 

divested him of the garb of a private person, set him in the 
most conspicuous place. All men wondered who he could be, 
and from whence he came; but none ventured to interpose 
or move objections, so confounded were their minds at the 
strange and unlooked-for event. Diocletian took off his purple 
robe, put it on Daia, and resumed his own original name of 
Diocles. He descended from the tribunal, and passed through 
Nicomedia in a chariot; and then this old emperor, like a 
veteran soldier freed from military service, was dismissed into 
his own country : while Daia, lately taken from the tending of 
cattle in forests to serve as a common soldier, immediately 
made one of the life-guard, presently a tribune, and next day 
Ccesar, obtained authority to trample under foot and oppress 
the empire of the East ; a person ignorant alike of war and of 
civil affairs, and from a herdsman become the leader of armies. 

CHAPTER xx. 

Galerius having effected the expulsion of the two old men, 
began to consider himself alone as the sovereign of the Roman 
empire. Necessity had required the appointment of Constan- 
tius to the first rank ; but Galerius made small account of one 
who was of an easy temper, and of health declining and pre 
carious. He looked for the speedy death of Constantius. And 
although that prince should recover, it seemed not difficult to 
force him to put off the imperial purple ; for what else could 
he do, if pressed by his three colleagues to abdicate ? Galerius 
had Licinius ever about his person, his old and intimate 
acquaintance, and his earliest companion in arms, whose 
counsels he used in the management of all affairs; yet he 
would not nominate Licinius to the dignity of Caesar, with the 
title of sew, for he purposed to nominate him, in the room of 
Constantius, to the dignity of emperor, with the title of 
brother, while he himself might hold sovereign authority, and 
rule over the whole globe with unbounded licence. After that, 
he meant to have solemnized the vicennial festival ; to have con 
ferred on his son Candidianus, then a boy of nine years of age, 
the office of Ccesar ; and, in conclusion, to have resigned, as 
Diocletian had done. And thus, Licinius and Severus being 
emperors, and Maximin and Candidianus in the next station 
of Ccesars, he fancied that, environed as it were by an impreg- 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 183 

nable wall, he should lead an old age of security and peace. 
Such were his projects ; but God, whom he had made his 
adversary, frustrated all those imaginations. 

CHAPTER xxi. 

Having thus attained to the highest power, he bent his mind 
to afflict that empire into which he had opened his way. It is 
the manner and practice of the Persians for the people to 
yield themselves slaves to their kings, and for the kings to treat 
their people as slaves. This flagitious man, from the time of 
his victories over the Persians, was not ashamed incessantly to 
extol such an institution, and he resolved to establish it in 
the Roman dominions ; and because he could not do this by an 
express law, he so acted, in imitation of the Persian kings, as 
to bereave men of their liberties. He first of all degraded those 
whom he meant to punish ; and then not only were inferior 
magistrates put to the torture by him, but also the chief men in 
cities, and persons of the most eminent rank, and this too in 
matters of little moment, and in civil questions. Crucifixion 
was the punishment ready prepared in capital cases ; and for 
lesser crimes, fetters. Matrons of honourable station were 
dragged into workhouses; and when any man was to be 
scourged, there were four posts fixed in the ground, and to 
them he was tied, after a manner unknown in the chastisement 
of slaves. What shall I say of his apartment for sport, and of 
his favourite diversions ? He kept bears, most resembling him 
self in fierceness and bulk, whom he had collected together 
during the course of his reign. As often as he chose to indulge 
his humour, he ordered some particular bear to be brought in, 
and men were thrown to that savage animal, rather to be 
swallowed up than devoured ; and when their limbs were torn 
asunder, he laughed with excessive complacency : nor did he 
ever sup without being spectator of the effusion of human 
blood. Men of private station were condemned to be burnt 
alive ; and he began this mode of execution by edicts against 
the Christians, commanding that, after torture and condem 
nation, they should be burnt at a slow fire. They were fixed 
to a stake, and first a moderate flame was applied to the soles 
of their feet, until the muscles, contracted by burning, were 
torn from the bones ; then torches, lighted and put out again, 



184: LACTANT1US. 

were directed to all the members of their bodies, so that no 
part had any exemption. Meanwhile cold water was continu 
ally poured on their faces, and their mouths moistened, lest, by 
reason of their jaws being parched, they should expire. At 
length they did expire, when, after many hours, the violent heat 
had consumed their skin and penetrated into their intestines. 
The dead carcases were laid on a funeral pile, and wholly 
burnt; their bones were gathered, ground to powder, and 
thrown into the river, or into the sea. 

CHAPTER xxu. 

And now that cruelty, which he had learned in torturing the 
Christians, became habitual, and he exercised it against all men 
indiscriminately. He was not wont to inflict the slighter sorts 
of punishment, as to banish, to imprison, or to send criminals 
to work in the mines ; but to burn, to crucify, to expose to 
wild beasts, were things done daily, and without hesitation. 
For smaller offences, those of his own household and his 
stewards were chastised with lances, instead of rods ; and, in 
great offences, to be beheaded was an indulgence shown to very 
few; and it seemed as a favour, on account of old services, 
when one was permitted to die in the easiest manner. But 
these were slight evils in the government of Galerius, when 
compared with what follows. For eloquence was extinguished, 
pleaders cut off, and the learned in the laws either exiled or 
slain. Useful letters came to be viewed in the same light as 
magical and forbidden arts ; and all who possessed them were 
trampled upon and execrated, as if they had been hostile to 
government, and public enemies. Law was dissolved, and 
unbounded licence permitted to judges, to judges chosen from 
amongst the soldiery, rude and illiterate men, and let loose upon 
the provinces, without assessors to guide or control them. 

CHAPTER xxur. 

But that which gave rise to public and universal calamity, 
was the tax imposed at once on each province and city. 
Surveyors having been spread abroad, and occupied in a general 
and severe scrutiny, horrible scenes were exhibited, like the 
outrages of victorious enemies, and the wretched state of 
captives. Each spot of ground was measured, vines and fruit- 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 185 

trees numbered, lists taken of animals of every kind, and a 
capitation-roll made up. In cities, the common people, whether 
residing within or without the walls, were assembled, the 
market-places filled with crowds of families, all attended with 
their children and slaves, the noise of torture and scourges re 
sounded, sons were hung on the rack to force discovery of the 
effects of their fathers, the most trusty slaves compelled by pain 
to bear witness against their masters, and wives to bear witness 
against their husbands. In default of all other evidence, men 
were tortured to speak against themselves ; and no sooner did 
agony oblige them to acknowledge what they had not, but those 
imaginary effects were noted down in the lists. Neither youth, 
nor old age, nor sickness, afforded any exemption. The 
diseased and the infirm were carried in ; the age of each was 
estimated ; and, that the capitation-tax might be enlarged, 
years were added to the young and struck off from the old. 
General lamentation and sorrow prevailed. Whatever, by the 
laws of war, conquerors had done to the conquered, the like 
did this man presume to perpetrate against Romans and the 
subjects of Rome, because his forefathers had been made liable 
to a like tax imposed by the victorious Trajan, as a penalty on 
the Dacians for their frequent rebellions. After this, money 
was levied for each head, as if a price had been paid for 
liberty to exist ; yet full trust was not reposed on the same 
set of surveyors, but others and others still were sent round to 
make further discoveries ; and thus the tributes were redoubled, 
not because the new surveyors made any fresh discoveries, but 
because - they added at pleasure to the former rates, lest they 
should seem to have been employed to no purpose. Meanwhile 
the number of animals decreased, and men died ; nevertheless 
taxes were paid even for the dead, so that no one could either 
live or cease to live \vithout being subject to impositions. 
There remained mendicants alone, from whom nothing could 
be exacted, and whom their misery and wretchedness secured 
from ill-treatment. But this pious man had compassion on 
them, and determining that they should remain no longer in 
indigence, he caused them all to be assembled, put on board 
vessels, and sunk in the sea. So merciful was he in making 
provision that under his administration no man should want ! 
And thus, while he took effectual measures that none, under the 



186 LACTANTIUS. 

feigned pretext of poverty, should elude the tax, he put to death a 
multitude of real wretches, in violation of every law of humanity. 

CHAPTER xxiv. 

Already the judgment of God approached him, and that 
season ensued in which his fortunes began to droop and to 
waste away. While occupied in the manner that I have 
described above, he did not set himself to subvert or expel 
Constantius, but waited for his death, not imagining, however, 
that it was so nigh. Constantius, having become exceedingly 
ill, wrote to Galerius, and requested that his son Constantine 
might be sent to see him. He had made a like request long 
before, but in vain ; for Galerius meant nothing less than to 
grant it ; on the contrary, he laid repeated snares for the life of 
that young man, because he durst not use open violence, lest 
he should stir up civil wars against himself, and incur that 
which he most dreaded, the hate and resentment of the army. 
Under pretence of manly exercise and recreation, he made him 
combat with wild beasts : but this device was frustrated ; for 
the power of God protected Constantine, and in the very mo 
ment of jeopardy rescued him from the hands of Galerius. 
At length, Galerius, when he could no longer avoid complying 
with the request of Constantius, one evening gave Constantine 
a warrant to depart, and commanded him to set out next 
morning with the imperial despatches. Galerius meant either 
to find some pretext for detaining Constantine, or to forward 
orders to Severus for arresting him on the road. Constantine 
discerned his purpose ; and therefore, after supper, when the 
emperor was gone to rest, he hasted away, carried off from the 
principal stages all the horses maintained at the public expense, 
and escaped. Next day the emperor, having purposely re 
mained in his bed-chamber until noon, ordered Constantine to 
be called into his presence ; but he learnt that Constantine had 
set out immediately after supper. Outrageous with passion, he 
ordered horses to be made ready, that Constantine might be 
pursued and dragged back ; and hearing that all the horses had 
been carried off from the great road, he could hardly refrain 
from tears. Meanwhile Constantine, journeying with incredible 
rapidity, reached his father, who was already about to expire. 
Constantius recommended his son to the soldiers, delivered the 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 187 

sovereign authority into his hands, and then died, as his wish 
had long been, in peace and quiet. 

Constantine Augustus, having assumed the government, 
made it his first care to restore the Christians to the exercise of 
their worship and to their God ; and so began his administration 
by re-establishing the holy religion. 

CHAPTER xxv. 

Some few days after, the portrait of Constantine, adorned 
with laurels, was brought to the pernicious wild beast (that, 
by receiving that symbol, he might acknowledge Constantine 
in the quality of emperor). He hesitated long whether to 
receive it or not, and he was about to commit both the portrait 
and its bearer to the flames, but his confidants dissuaded him 
from a resolution so frantic : they admonished him of the 
danger, and they represented that, if Constantine came with an 
armed force, all the soldiers, against whose inclination obscure 
or unknown Ccesars had been created, would acknowledge him, 
and crowd eagerly to his standard. So Galerius, although with 
the utmost unwillingness, accepted the portrait, and sent the 
imperial purple to Constantine, that he might seem of his own 
accord to have received that prince into partnership of power 
with him. And now his plans were deranged, and he could 
not, as he intended formerly, admit Licinius, without exceeding 
the limited number of emperors. But this he devised, that 
Severus, who was more advanced in life, should be named 
emperor, and that Constantine, instead of the title of emperor, 
to which he had been named, should receive that of Ccesar in 
common with Maximin Daia, and so be degraded from the 
second place to the fourth. 

CHAPTER xxvi. 

Things seemed to be arranged in some measure to the satis 
faction of Galerius, when another alarm was brought, that his 
son-in-law Maxentius had been declared emperor at Eome. 
The cause was this : Galerius having resolved by permanent 
taxes to devour the empire, soared to such extravagance in 
folly, as not to allow an exemption from that thraldom even to 
the Roman people. Tax-gatherers therefore were appointed to 
go to Rome, and make out lists of the citizens. Much about the 



188 LACTANTIUS. 

same time Galerius had reduced the Pretorian Guards. There 
remained at Rome a few soldiers of that body, who, profiting 
of the opportunity, put some magistrates to death, and, with 
the acquiescence of the tumultuary populace, clothed Maxen- 
tius in the imperial purple. Galerius, on receiving this news, 
was disturbed at the strangeness of the event, but not much 
dismayed. He hated Maxentius, and he could not bestow on 
him the dignity of Ccesar, already enjoyed by two (Daia and 
Constantine) ; besides, he thought it enough for him to have 
once bestowed that dignity against his inclination. So he sent 
for Severus, exhorted him to regain his dominion and sove 
reignty, and he put under his command that army which 
Maximian Herculius had formerly commanded, that he might 
attack Maxentius at Rome. There the soldiers of Maximian 
had been oftentimes received with every sort of luxurious 
accommodation, so that they were not only interested to pre 
serve the city, but they also longed to fix their residence in it. 

Maxentius well knew the enormity of his own offences ; and 
although he had as it were an hereditary claim to the services 
of his father s army, and might have hoped to draw it over to 
himself, yet he reflected that this consideration might occur to 
Galerius also, and induce him to leave Severus in Illyricum, 
and march in person with his own army against Rome. Under 
such apprehensions, Maxentius sought to protect himself from 
the danger that hung over him. To his father, who since his 
abdication resided in Campania, he sent the purple, and saluted 
him again Augustus. Maximian, given to change, eagerly 
resumed that purple of which he had unwillingly divested him 
self. Meanwhile Severus marched on, and with his troops 
approached the walls of the city. Presently the soldiers raised 
up their ensigns, abandoned Severus, and yielded themselves 
to Maxentius, against whom they had come. What remained 
but flight for Severus, thus deserted ? He was encountered by 
Maximian, who had resumed the imperial dignity. On this he 
took refuge in Ravenna, and shut himself up there with a few 
soldiers. But perceiving that he was about to be delivered up, 
he voluntarily surrendered himself, and restored the purple to 
him from whom he had received it ; and after this he obtained 
no other grace but that of an easy death, for he was compelled 
to open his veins, and in that gentle manner expired. 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 189 



CHAPTER xxvu. 

But Maximian, who knew the outrageous temper of Galerius, 
began to consider that, fired with rage on hearing of the death 
of Severus, he would march into Italy, and that possibly he 
might be joined by Daia, and so bring into the field forces too 
powerful to be resisted. Having therefore fortified Rome, and 
made diligent provision for a defensive war, Maximian went 
into Gaul, that he might give his younger daughter Fausta in 
marriage to Constantine, and thus win over that prince to his 
interest. Meantime Galerius assembled his troops, invaded 
Italy, and advanced towards Rome, resolving to extinguish the 
senate and put the whole people to the sword. But he found 
everything shut and fortified against him. There was no hope 
of carrying the place by storm, and to besiege it was an arduous 
undertaking ; for Galerius had not brought with him an army 
sufficient to invest the walls. Probably, having never seen 
Rome, he imagined it to be little superior in size to those cities 
with which he was acquainted. But some of his legions, 
detesting the wicked enterprise of a father against his son-in- 
law, and of Romans against Rome, renounced his authority, 
and carried over their ensigns to the enemy. Already had his 
remaining soldiers begun to waver, when Galerius, dreading 
a fate like that of Severus, and having his haughty spirit 
broken and humiliated, threw himself at the feet of his soldiers, 
and continued to beseech them that he might not be delivered 
to the foe, until, by the promise of mighty largesses, he pre 
vailed on them. Then he retreated from Rome, and fled in 
great disorder. Easily might he have been cut off in his flight, 
had any one pursued him even with a small body of troops. 
He was aware of his danger, and allowed his soldiers to dis 
perse themselves, and to plunder and destroy far and wide, 
that, if there were any pursuers, they might be deprived of all 
means of subsistence in a ruined country. So the parts of 
Italy through which that pestilent band took its course were 
wasted, all things pillaged, matrons forced, virgins violated, 
parents and husbands compelled by torture to disclose where 
they had concealed their goods, and their wives and daughters ; 
flocks and herds of cattle were driven off like spoils taken from 
barbarians. And thus did he, once a Roman emperor, but 



190 LACTANTIUS. 

now the ravager of Italy, retire into his own territories, after 
having afflicted all men indiscriminately with the calamities of 
war. Long ago, indeed, and at the very time of his obtaining 
sovereign power, he had avowed himself the enemy of the 
Eoman name ; and he proposed that the empire should be 
called, not the Roman, but the Dacian empire. 

CHAPTER xxvm. 

After the flight of Galerius, Maximian, having returned 
from Gaul, held authority in common with his son ; but more 
obedience was yielded to the young man than to the old : for 
Maxentius had most power, and had been longest in possession 
of it ; and it was to him that Maximian owed on this occasion 
the imperial dignity. The old man was impatient at being 
denied the exercise of uncontrolled sovereignty, and envied his 
son with a childish spirit of rivalry ; and therefore he began to 
consider how he might expel Maxentius and resume his ancient 
dominion. This appeared easy, because the soldiers who 
deserted Severus had originally served in his own army. He 
called an assembly of the people of Eome, and of the soldiers, 
as if he had been to make an harangue on the calamitous 
situation of public affairs. After having spoken much on that 
subject, he stretched his hands towards his son, charged him 
as author of all ills and prime cause of the calamities of the 
state, and then tore the purple from his shoulders. Maxentius, 
thus stripped, leaped headlong from the tribunal, and was 
received into the arms of the soldiers. Their rage and clamour 
confounded the unnatural old man, and, like another Tarquin 
the Proud, he was driven from Rome. 

CHAPTER xxix. 

Then Maximian returned into Gaul ; and after having made 
some stay in those quarters, he went to Galerius, the enemy of 
his son, that they might confer together, as he pretended, about 
the settlement of the commonweal ; but his true purpose was, 
under colour of reconciliation, to find an opportunity of mur 
dering Galerius, and of seizing his share of the empire, instead 
of his own, from which he had been everywhere excluded. 

Diodes was at the court of Galerius when Maximian arrived ; 
for Galerius, meaning now to invest Licinius with the ensigns 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 191 

of supreme power in the room of Severus, had lately sent for 
Diocles to be present at the solemnity. So it was performed in 
presence both of him and of Maximian ; and thus there were 
six who ruled the empire at one and the same time. 

Now the designs of Maximian having been frustrated, he 
took flight, as he had done twice before, and returned into Gaul, 
with a heart full of wickedness, and intending by treacherous 
devices to overreach Constantine, who was not only his own 
son-in-law, but also the child of his son-in-law; and that he 
might the more successfully deceive, he laid aside the imperial 
purple. The Franks had taken up arms. Maximian advised 
the unsuspecting Constantine not to lead all his troops against 
them, and he said that a few soldiers would suffice to subdue 
those barbarians. He gave this advice that an army might be 
left for him to win over to himself, and that Constantine, by 
reason of his scanty forces, might be overpowered. The young 
prince believed the advice to be judicious, because given by an 
aged and experienced commander; and he followed it, because 
given by a father-in-law. He marched, leaving the most con 
siderable part of his forces behind. Maximian waited a few 
days ; and as soon as, by his calculation, Constantine had 
entered the territory of the barbarians, he suddenly resumed 
the imperial purple, seized the public treasures, after his wont 
made ample donatives to the soldiery, and feigned that such 
disasters had befallen Constantine as soon after befell himself. 
Constantine was presently informed of those events, and, by 
marches astonishingly rapid, he flew back with his army. 
Maximian, not yet prepared to oppose him, was overpowered at 
unawares, and the soldiers returned to their duty. Maximian 
had possessed himself of Marseilles (he fled thither), and shut 
the gates. Constantine drew nigh, arid seeing Maximian on 
the walls, addressed him in no harsh or hostile language, and 
demanded what he meant, and what it was that he wanted, and 
why he had acted in a way so peculiarly unbecoming him. But 
Maximian from the walls incessantly uttered abuse and curses 
against Constantine. Then, of a sudden, the gates on the oppo 
site side having been unbarred, the besiegers were admitted 
into the city. The rebel emperor, an unnatural parent and 
a perfidious father-in-law, was dragged into the presence of 
Constantinej heard a recital made of his crimes, was divested 



192 LACTANTIUS. 

of his imperial robe, and, after this reprimand, obtained his 
life. 

CHAPTER xxx. 

Maximian, having thus forfeited the respect due to an em 
peror and a father-in-law, grew impatient at his abased con 
dition, and, emboldened by impunity, formed new plots against 
Constantine. He addressed himself to his daughter Fausta, 
and, as well by entreaties as by the soothing of flattery, solicited 
her to betray her husband. He promised to obtain for her a 
more honourable alliance than that with Constantine; and he 
requested her to allow the bed-chamber of the emperor to be 
left open, and to be slightly guarded. Fausta undertook to 
do whatever he asked, and instantly revealed the whole to her 
husband. A plan was laid for detecting Maximian in the very 
execution of his crime. They placed a base eunuch to be 
murdered instead of the emperor. At the dead of night 
Maximian arose, and perceived all things to be favourable for 
his insidious purpose. There were few soldiers on guard, and 
these too at some distance from the bed-chamber. However, 
to prevent suspicion, he accosted them, and said that he had 
had a dream which he wished to communicate to his son-in- 
law. He went in armed, slew the eunuch, sprung forth exult- 
ingly, and avowed the murder. At that moment Constantine 
showed himself on the opposite side with a band of soldiers ; 
the dead body was brought out of the bed-chamber ; the mur 
derer, taken in the fact, all aghast, 

" Stood like a stone, silent and motionless ; " 

while Constantine upbraided him for his impiety and enormous 
guilt. At last Maximian obtained leave that the manner of 
his death should be at his own choice, and he strangled himself. 
Thus that mightiest sovereign of Kome, who ruled so long 
with exceeding glory, and who celebrated his twentieth anni 
versary, thus that most haughty man had his neck broken, and 
ended his detestable life by a death base and ignominious. 

CHAPTER xxxi. 

From Maximian, God, the avenger of religion and of His 
people, turned his eyes to Galerius", the author of the accursed 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 193 

persecution, that in his punishment also He might manifest the 
power of His majesty. Galerius, too, was purposing to cele 
brate his twentieth anniversary ; and as, under that pretext, he 
had, by new taxes payable in gold and silver, oppressed the 
provinces, so now, that he might recompense them by cele 
brating the promised festival, he used the like pretext for 
repeating his oppressions. Who can relate in fit terms the 
methods used to harass mankind in levying the tax, and espe 
cially with regard to corn and the other fruits of the earth ? 
The officers, or rather the executioners, of all the different 
magistrates, seized on each individual, and would never let go 
their hold. No man knew to whom he ought to make payment 
first. There was no dispensation given to those who had 
nothing ; and they were required, under pain of being variously 
tortured, instantly to pay, notwithstanding their inability. 
Many guards were set round, no breathing time was granted, 
or, at any season of the year, the least respite from exactions. 
Different magistrates, or the officers of different magistrates, 
frequently contended for the right of levying the tax from the 
same persons. No threshing-floor without a tax-gatherer, no 
vintage without a watch, and nought left for the sustenance of 
the husbandman ! That food should be snatched from the 
mouths of those who had earned it by toil, was grievous : the 
hope, however, of being afterwards relieved, might have made 
that grievance supportable ; but it was necessary for every one 
who appeared at the anniversary festival to provide robes of 
various kinds, and gold and silver besides. And a how (might 
one have said) shall I furnish myself with those things, O 
tyrant void of understanding, if you carry off the whole fruits 
of my ground, and violently seize its expected produce ? " 
Thus, throughout the dominions of Galerius, men were spoiled 
of their goods, and all was raked together into the imperial 
treasury, that the emperor might be enabled to perform his vow 
of celebrating a festival which he was doomed never to celebrate. 

CHAPTER xxxn. 

Maximin Daia was incensed at the nomination of Licinius 
to the dignity of emperor, and he would no longer be called 
Ccesar, or allow himself to be ranked as third in authority. 
Galerius, by repeated messages, besought Daia to yield, and to 

LACT. VOL. II. N 



194 LACTANTIUS. 

acquiesce in his arrangement, to give place to age, and to 
reverence the grey hairs of Licinius. But Daia became more 
and more insolent : he urged that, as it was he who first 
assumed the purple, so, by possession, he had right to priority 
in rank ; and he set at nought the entreaties and the injunc 
tions of Galerius. That brute animal was stung to the quick, 
and bellowed when the mean creature whom he had made 
Ccesar, in expectation of his thorough obsequiousness, forgot 
the great favour conferred on him, and impiously withstood 
the requests and will of his benefactor. Galerius at length, 
overcome by the obstinacy of Daia, abolished the subordinate 
title of Ccesar, gave to himself and Licinius that of the Augusti, 
and to Daia and Constantine that of sons of the Augusti. 
Daia, some time after, in a letter to Galerius, took occasion to 
observe, that at the last general muster he had been saluted by 
his army under the title of Augustus. Galerius, vexed and 
grieved at this, commanded that all the four should have the 
appellation of emperor. 

CHAPTER xxxm. 

And now, when Galerius was in the eighteenth year of his 
reign, God struck him with an incurable plague. A malignant 
ulcer formed itself low down in his secret parts, and spread by 
degrees. The physicians attempted to eradicate it, and healed 
up the place affected. But the sore, after having been skinned 
over, broke out again ; a vein burst, and the blood flowed in 
such quantity as to endanger his life. The blood, however, 
was stopped, although with difficulty. The physicians had to 
undertake their operations anew, and at length they cicatrized 
the wound. In consequence of some slight motion of his body, 
Galerius received a hurt, and the blood streamed more abun 
dantly than before. He grew emaciated, pallid, and feeble, 
and the bleeding then stanched. The ulcer began to be insen 
sible to the remedies applied, and a gangrene seized all the 
neighbouring parts. It diffused itself the wider the more the 
corrupted flesh was cut away, and everything employed as the 
means of cure served but to aggravate the disease. 

" The masters of the healing art withdrew." 
Then famous physicians were brought in from all quarters; 






THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 195 

but no human means had any success. Apollo and -ZEscu- 
lapius were besought importunately for remedies : Apollo did 
prescribe, and the distemper augmented. Already approaching 
to its deadly crisis, it had occupied the lower regions of his 
body : his bowels came out, and his whole seat putrefied. The 
luckless physicians, although without hope of overcoming the 
malady, ceased not to apply fomentations and administer 
medicines. The humours having been repelled, the distemper 
attacked his intestines, and worms were generated in his body. 
The stench was so foul as to pervade not only the palace, 
but even the whole city ; and no w r onder, for by that time the 
passages from his bladder and bowels, having been devoured 
by the worms, became indiscriminate, and his body, with 
intolerable anguish, was dissolved into one mass of corruption. 

" Stung to the soul, he bellowed with the pain, 
So roars the wounded bull." PITT. 

They applied warm flesh of animals to the chief seat of the 
disease, that the warmth might draw out those minute worms ; 
and accordingly, when the dressings were removed, there 
issued forth an innumerable swarm : nevertheless the prolific 
disease had hatched swarms much more abundant to prey upon 
and consume his intestines. Already, through a complication 
of distempers, the different parts of his body had lost their 
natural form : the superior part was dry, meagre, and haggard, 
and his ghastly-looking skin had settled itself deep amongst his 
bones ; while the inferior, distended like bladders, retained no 
appearance of joints. These things happened in the course of 
a complete year; and at length, overcome by calamities, he was 
obliged to acknowledge God, and he cried aloud, in the intervals 
of raging pain, that he would re-edify the Church which he had 
demolished, and make atonement for his misdeeds ; and when 
he was near his end, he published an edict of the tenor fol 
lowing : 

CHAPTEE xxxiv. 

" Amongst our other regulations for the permanent advan 
tage of the commonweal, we have hitherto studied to reduce 

^ 

all things to a conformity with the ancient laws and public 
discipline of the Romans. 



19 e LACTANT1US. 

<< It has been our aim in an especial manner, that the Chris 
tians also, who had abandoned the religion of their forefathers, 
should return to right opinions. For such wilfulness and folly 
had, we know not how, taken possession of them, that instead 
of observing those ancient institutions, which possibly their own 
forefathers had established, they, through caprice, made laws 
to themselves, and drew together into different societies many 
men of widely different persuasions. 

a After the publication of our edict, ordaining the Chris 
tians to betake themselves to the observance of the ancient 
institutions, many of them were subdued through the fear of 
danger, and moreover many of them were exposed to jeopardy ; 
nevertheless, because great numbers still persist in their 
opinions, and because we have perceived that at present they 
neither pay reverence and due adoration to the gods, nor yet 
worship their own God, therefore we, from our wonted 
clemency in bestowing pardon on all, have judged it fit to 
extend our indulgence to those men, and to permit them again 
to be Christians, and to establish the places of their religious 
assemblies; yet so as that they offend not against good order. 

" By another mandate we purpose to signify unto magis 
trates how they ought herein to demean themselves. 

" Wherefore it will be the duty of the Christians, in conse 
quence of this our toleration, to pray to their God for our 
welfare, and for that of the public, and for their own ; that the 
commonweal may continue safe in every quarter, and that they 
themselves may live securely in their habitations." 

CHAPTER xxxv. 

This edict was promulgated at Nicomedia on the day pre 
ceding the kalends of May (30th of April), in the eighth con 
sulship of Galerius, and the second of Maximin Daia. Then 
the prison-gates having been thrown open, you, my best 
beloved Donatus, together with the other confessors for the 
faith, were set at liberty from a jail, which had been your 
residence for six years. Galerius, however, did not, by publi 
cation of this edict, obtain the divine forgiveness. In a few 
days after he was consumed by the horrible disease that had 
brought on an universal putrefaction. Dying, he recommended 
his wife and son to Licinius, and delivered them over into his 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 197 

hands. This event was known at Nicomedia before the end of 
the month (May). His vicennial anniversary was to have been 
celebrated on the ensuing kalends of March (1st March fol 
lowing). 

CHAPTER xxxvi. 

Daia, on receiving this news, hasted with relays of horses 
from the East, to seize the dominions of Galerius, and, while 
Licinius lingered in Europe, to arrogate to himself all the 
country as far as the narrow seas of Calcedon. On his entry 
into Bithynia, he, with the view of acquiring immediate popu 
larity, abolished Galerius tax, to the great joy of all. Dissen 
sion arose between the two emperors, and almost an open war. 
They stood on the opposite shores with their armies. Peace, 
however, and amity were established under certain conditions. 
Licinius and Daia met on the narrow seas, concluded a treaty, 
and in token of friendship joined hands. Then Daia, be 
lieving all things to be in security, returned (to Nicomedia), 
and was in his new dominions what he had been in Syria and 
Egypt. First of all, he took away the toleration and general 
protection granted by Galerius to the Christians, and, for this 
end, he secretly procured addresses from different cities, re 
questing that no Christian church might be built within their 
walls; and thus he meant to make that which was his own 
choice appear as if extorted from him by importunity. In 
compliance with those addresses, he introduced a new mode of 
government in things respecting religion, and for each city he 
created a high priest, chosen from among the persons of most 
distinction. The office of those men was to make daily sacri 
fices to all their gods, and, with the aid of the former priests, 
to prevent the Christians from erecting churches, or from 
worshipping God either publicly or in private ; and he autho 
rized them to compel the Christians to sacrifice to idols, and, on 
their refusal, to bring them before the civil magistrate ; and, 
as if this had not been enough, in every province he established 
a superintendent priest, one of chief eminence in the state ; and 
he commanded that all those priests newly instituted should 
appear in white habits (that being the most honourable dis 
tinction of dress). And as to the Christians, he purposed to 
follow the course that he had followed in the East, and, affect- 



198 LACTANTIUS. 

ing the show of clemency, he forbade the slaying of God s ser 
vants, but he gave command that they should be mutilated. So 
the confessors for the faith had* their ears and nostrils slit, their 
hands and feet lopped off, and their eyes dug out of the sockets. 

CHAPTER XXXVIT. 

While occupied in this plan, he received letters from Con- 
stantine which deterred him from proceeding in its execution, 
so for a time he dissembled his purpose ; nevertheless any 
Christian that fell within his power was privily thrown into the 
sea. Neither did he cease from his custom of sacrificing every 
day in the palace. It was also an invention of his to cause all 
animals used for food to be slaughtered, not by cooks, but by 
priests at the altars ; so that nothing was ever served up, unless 
foretasted, consecrated, and sprinkled with wine, according to 
the rites of paganism ; and whoever was invited to an enter 
tainment must needs have returned from it impure and defiled. 
In all things else he resembled his preceptor Galerius. For if 
aught chanced to have been left untouched by Diocles and 
Maximian, that did Daia greedily and shamelessly carry off. 
And now the granaries of each individual were shut, and all 
warehouses sealed up, and taxes, not yet due, were levied by anti 
cipation. Hence famine, from neglect of cultivation, and the 
prices of all things enhanced beyond measure. Herds and flocks 
were driven from their pasture for the daily sacrifice. By gorging 
his soldiers with the flesh of sacrifices, he so corrupted them, 
that they disdained their wonted pittance in corn, and wantonly 
threw it away. Meanwhile Daia recompensed his body-guards, 
who were very numerous, with costly raiment and gold medals, 
made donatives in silver to the common soldiers and recruits, 
and bestowed every sort of largess on the barbarians who served 
in his army. As to grants of the property of living persons, 
which he made to his favourites whenever they chose to ask 
what belonged to another, I know not whether the same thanks 
might not be due to him that are given to merciful robbers, 
who spoil without murdering. 

CHAPTER xxxvm. 

But that which distinguished his character, and in which he 
transcended all former emperors, was his desire of debauching 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 199 

women. What else can I call it but a blind and headstrong 
passion ? Yet such epithets feebly express my indignation in 
reciting his enormities. The magnitude of the guilt over 
powers my tongue, and makes it unequal to its office. Eunuchs 
and panders made search everywhere, and no sooner was any 
comely face discovered, than husbands and parents were obliged 
to withdraw. Matrons of quality and virgins were stripped of 
their robes, and all their limbs were inspected, lest any part 
should be unworthy of the bed of the emperor. Whenever a 
woman resisted, death by drowning was inflicted on her ; as if, 
under the reign of this adulterer, chastity had been treason. 
Some men there were, who, beholding the violation of wives 
whom for virtue and fidelity they affectionately loved, could 
not endure their anguish of mind, and so killed themselves. 
While this monster ruled, it was singular deformity alone which 
could shield the honour of any female from his savage desires. 
At length he introduced a custom prohibiting marriage unless 
with the imperial permission ; and he made this an instrument 
to serve the purposes of his lewdness. After having debauched 
freeborn maidens, he gave them for wives to his slaves. His 
courtiers also imitated the example of the emperor, and violated 
with impunity the beds of their dependants. For who was there 
to punish such offences ? As for the daughters of men of 
middle rank, any who were inclined took them by force. 
Ladies of quality, who could not be taken by force, were 
petitioned for, and obtained from the emperor by way of free 
gift. Nor could a father oppose this ; for the imperial warrant 
having been once signed, he had no alternative but to die, or 
to receive some barbarian as his son-in-law. For hardly was 
there any person in the life-guard except of those people, who, 
having been driven from their habitations by the Goths in the 
twentieth year of Diocletian, yielded themselves to Galerius, 
and entered into his service. It was ill for humankind, that 
men who had fled from the bondage of barbarians should thus 
come to lord it over the Romans. Environed by such guards, 
Daia oppressed and insulted the Eastern empire. 

CHAPTEK xxxix. 

Now Daia, in gratifying his libidinous desires, made his own 
will the standard of right ; and therefore he would not refrain 



200 LACTANTIUS. 

from soliciting the widow of Galerius, the Empress Valeria, to 
whom he had lately given the appellation of mother. After 
the death of her husband, she had repaired to Daia, because 
she imagined that she might live with more security in his 
dominions than elsewhere, especially as he was a married man ; 
but the flagitious creature became instantly inflamed with a 
passion for her. Valeria was still in weeds, the time of her 
mourning not being yet expired. He sent a message to her 
proposing marriage, and offering, on her compliance, to put 
away his wife. She frankly returned an answer such as she 
alone could dare to do : first, that she would not treat of mar 
riage while she was in weeds, and while the ashes of Galerius, 
her husband, and, by adoption, the father of Daia, were 
yet warm ; next, that he acted impiously, in proposing to 
divorce a faithful wife to make room for another, whom in her 
turn he would also cast off ; and, lastly, that it was indecent, 
unexampled, and unlawful for a woman of her title and dignity 
to engage a second time in wedlock. This bold answer having 
been reported to Daia, presently his desires changed into rage 
and furious resentment. He pronounced sentence of forfeiture 
against the princess, seized her goods, removed her attendants, 
tortured her eunuchs to death, and banished her and her mother 
Prisca : but he appointed no particular place for her residence 
while in banishment ; and hence he insultingly expelled her 
from every abode that she took in the course of her wanderings; 
and, to complete all, he condemned the ladies who enjoyed 
most of her friendship and confidence to die on a false accu 
sation of adultery. 

CHAPTER XL. 

There was a certain matron of high rank who already had 
grandchildren by more than one son. Her Valeria loved like 
a second mother, and Daia suspected that her advice had pro 
duced that refusal which Valeria gave to his matrimonial offers ; 
and therefore he charged the president Eratineus to have her 
put to death in a way that might injure her fame. To her two 
others, equally noble, were added. One of them, who had a 
daughter a Vestal virgin at Rome, maintained an intercourse 
by stealth with the banished Valeria. The other, married to a 
senator, was intimately connected with the empress. Excellent 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 201 

beauty and virtue proved the cause of their death. They were 
dragged to the tribunal, not of an upright judge, but of a 
robber. Neither indeed was there any accuser, until a certain 
Jew, one charged with other offences, was induced, through 
hope of pardon, to give false evidence against the innocent. 
The equitable and vigilant magistrate conducted him out of the 
city under a guard, lest the populace should have stoned him. 
This tragedy was acted at Nicsea. The Jew was ordered to 
the torture till he should speak as he had been instructed, while 
the torturers by blows prevented the women from speaking in 
their own defence. The innocent were condemned to die. 
Then there arose wailing and lamentation, not only of the 
senator, who attended on his well-deserving consort, but 
amongst the spectators also, whom this proceeding, scandalous 
and unheard of, had brought together ; and, to prevent the 
multitude from violently rescuing the condemned persons out 
of the hands of the executioners, military commanders followed 
with light infantry and archers. And thus, under a guard of 
armed soldiers, they were led to punishment. Their domestics 
having been forced to flee, they would have remained without 
burial, had not the compassion of friends interred them by 
stealth. Nor was the promise of pardon made good to the 
feigned adulterer, for he was fixed to a gibbet, and then he 
disclosed the whole secret contrivance ; and with his last breath 
he protested to all the beholders that the women died innocent. 

CHAPTER XLI. 

But the empress, an exile in some desert region of Syria, 
secretly informed her father Diocletian of the calamity that 
had befallen her. He despatched messengers to Daia, request 
ing that his daughter might be sent to him. He could not 
prevail. Again and again he entreated ; yet she was not sent. 
At length he employed a relation of his, a military man high 
in power and authority, to implore Daia by the remembrance 
of past favours. This messenger, equally unsuccessful in his 
negotiation as the others, reported to Diocletian that his prayers 
were vain. 

CHAPTER XLII. 
At this time, by command of Constantine, the statues of 



202 LACTANTIUS. 

Maximian Herculius were thrown down, and his portraits 
removed; and, as the two old emperors were generally delineated 
in one piece, the portraits of both were removed at the same 
time. Thus Diocletian lived to see a disgrace which no former 
emperor had ever seen, and, under the double load of vexation 
of spirit and bodily maladies, he resolved to die. Tossing to 
and fro, with his soul agitated by grief, he could neither eat nor 
take rest. He sighed, groaned, and wept often, and incessantly 
threw himself into various postures, now on his couch, and now 
on the ground. So he, who for twenty years was the most 
prosperous of emperors, having been cast down into the ob 
scurity of a private station, treated in the most contumelious 
manner, and compelled to abhor life, became incapable of receiv 
ing nourishment, and, worn out with anguish of mind, expired. 

CHAPTER XLIII. 

Of the adversaries of God there still remained one, whose 
overthrow and end I am now to relate. 

Daia had entertained jealousy and ill-will against Licinius 
from the time that the preference was given to him by Galerius ; 
and those sentiments still subsisted, notwithstanding the treaty 
of peace lately concluded between them. When Daia heard 
that the sister of Constantine was betrothed to Licinius, he 
apprehended that the two emperors, by contracting this affinity, 
meant to league against him ; so he privily sent ambassadors 
to Rome, desiring a friendly alliance with Maxentius : he also 
wrote to him in terms of cordiality. The ambassadors were 
received courteously, friendship established, and in token of it 
the effigies of Maxentius and Daia were placed together in 
public view. Maxentius willingly embraced this, as if it had 
been an aid from heaven ; for he had already declared war 
against Constantine, as if to revenge the death of his father 
Maximian. From this appearance of filial piety a suspicion 
arose, that the detestable old man had but feigned a quarrel 
with his son that he might have an opportunity to destroy his 
rivals in power, and so make way for himself and his son to 
possess the whole empire. This conjecture, however, had no 
foundation ; for his true purpose was to have destroyed his son 
and the others, and then to have reinstated himself and Diocle 
tian in sovereign authority. 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 203 

CHAPTEE XLIV. 

And now a civil war broke out between Constantino and 
Maxentius. Although Maxentius kept himself within Rome, 
because the soothsayers had foretold that if he went out of it 
he should perish, yet he conducted the military operations by 
able generals. In forces he exceeded his adversary ; for he had 
not only his father s army, which deserted from Severus, but 
also his own, which he had lately drawn together out of Mauri 
tania and Italy. They fought, and the troops of Maxentius 
prevailed. At length Constantine, with steady courage and 
a mind prepared for every event, led his whole forces to the 
neighbourhood of Rome, and encamped them opposite to the 
Milvian bridge. The anniversary of the reign of Maxentius 
approached, that is, the sixth of the kalends of November (27th 
October), and the fifth year of his reign was drawing to an end. 

Constantine was directed in a dream to cause the heavenly 
sign to be delineated on the shields of his soldiers, and so to 
proceed to battle. He did as he had been commanded, and 
he marked on their shields the letter X, with a perpendicular 

line drawn through it and turned round at the top, thus ^, 

being the cipher of CHRIST. Having this sign, his troops 
stood to arms. The enemies advanced, but without their 
emperor, and they crossed the bridge. The armies met, and 
fought with the utmost exertions of valour, and firmly main 
tained their ground. In the meantime a sedition arose at Rome, 
and Maxentius was reviled as one who had abandoned all con 
cern for the safety of the commonweal ; and suddenly, while 
he exhibited the Circensian games on the anniversary of his 
reign, the people cried with one voice, " Constantine cannot be 
overcome ! " Dismayed at this, Maxentius burst from the 
assembly, and having called some senators together, ordered the 
Sibylline books to be searched. In them it was found that 
" on the same day the enemy of the. Romans should perish." 
Led by this response to the hopes of victory, he went to the 
field. The bridge in his rear was broken down. At sight of 
that the battle grew hotter. The hand of the Lord prevailed, 
and the forces of Maxentius were routed. He fled towards the 
broken bridge; but the multitude pressing on him, he was 
driven headlong into the Tiber. 



204 LACTANTIUS. 

This destructive war being ended, Constantine was acknow 
ledged as emperor, with great rejoicings, by the senate and 
people of Kome. And now he came to know the perfidy of 
Daia ; for he found the letters written to Maxentius, and saw 
the statues and portraits of the two associates which had been 
set up together. The senate, in reward of the valour of Con 
stantine, decreed to him the title of Maximm (the Greatest), a 
title which Daia had always arrogated to himself. Daia, when 
he heard that Constantine was victorious and Rome freed, 
expressed as much sorrow as if he himself had been vanquished ; 
but afterwards, when he heard of the decree of the senate, he 
grew outrageous, avowed enmity towards Constantine, and 
made his title of the Greatest a theme of abuse and raillery. 

CHAPTER XLV. 

Constantine having settled all things at Eome, went to 
Milan about the beginning of winter. Thither also Licinius 
came to receive his wife Constantia. When Daia understood 
that they were busied in solemnizing the nuptials, he moved out 
of Syria in the depth of a severe winter, and by forced inarches 
he came into Bithynia with an army much impaired ; for he 
lost all his beasts of burden, of whatever kind, in consequence 
of excessive rains and snow, miry ways, cold and fatigue. Their 
carcases, scattered about the roads, seemed an emblem of the 
calamities of the impending war, and the presage of a like 
destruction that awaited the soldiers. Daia did not halt in hi s 
own territories; but immediately crossed the Thracian Bos- 
phorus, and in a hostile manner approached the gates of Byzan 
tium. There was a garrison in the city, established by Licinius 
to check any invasion that Daia might make. At first Daia 
attempted to entice the soldiers by the promise of donatives, 
and then to intimidate them by assault and storm. Yet neither 
promises nor force availed aught. After eleven days had 
elapsed, within which time Licinius might have learned the 
state of the garrison, the soldiers surrendered, not through 
treachery, but because they were too weak to make a longer 
resistance. Then Daia moved on to Heraclea (otherwise called 
Perinthus), and by delays of the like nature before that place 
lost some days. And now Licinius by expeditious marches 
had reached Adrianople, but with forces not numerous. Then 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 205 

Daia, having taken Perinthus by capitulation, and remained 
there for a short space, moved forwards eighteen miles to the first 
station. Here his progress was stopped ; for Licinius had already 
occupied the second station, at the distance also of eighteen 
miles. Licinius, having assembled what forces he could from 
the neighbouring quarters, advanced towards Daia, rather indeed 
to retard his operations than with any purpose of fighting, or 
hope of victory : for Daia had an army of seventy thousand 
men, while he himself had scarce thirty thousand ; for his 
soldiers being dispersed in various regions, there was not time, 
on that sudden emergency, to collect all of them together. 

CHAPTER XLVI. 

The armies thus approaching each other, seemed on the eve 
of a battle. Then Daia made this vow to Jupiter, that if he 
obtained victory he would extinguish and utterly efface the 
name of the Christians. And on the following night an 
angel of the Lord seemed to stand before Licinius while he 
was asleep, admonishing him to arise immediately, and with 
his whole army to put up a prayer to the supreme God, and 
assuring him that by so doing he should obtain victory. 
Licinius fancied that, hearing this, he arose, and that his 
monitor, who was nigh him, directed how he should pray, and 
in what words. Awaking from sleep, he sent for one of his 
secretaries, and dictated these words exactly as he had heard 
them: "Supreme God, we beseech Thee; Holy God, we 
beseech Thee ; unto Thee we commend all right ; unto Thee 
we commend our safety ; unto Thee we commend our empire. 
By Thee we live, by Thee we are victorious and happy. 
Supreme Holy God, hear our prayers; to Thee we stretch 
forth our arms. Hear, Holy Supreme God." Many copies 
were made of these words, and distributed amongst the 
principal commanders, who were to teach them to the soldiers 
under their charge. At this all men took fresh courage, 
in the confidence that victory had been announced to 
them from heaven. Licinius resolved to give battle on the 
kalends of May (1st May) ; for precisely eight years before 
Daia had received the dignity of C&sar, and Licinius chose that 
day in hopes that Daia might be vanquished on the anniversary 
of his reign, as Maxentius had been on his. Daia, however, 



206 LACTANTIUS. 

purposed to give battle earlier, to fight on the day before those 
kalends (30th April), and to triumph on the anniversary of his 
rei^n. Accounts came that Daia was in motion ; the soldiers 
of Licinius armed themselves, and advanced. A barren and 
open plain, called Campus Serenus, lay beween the two armies. 
They were now in sight of one another. The soldiers of 
Licinius placed their shields on the ground, took off their 
helmets, and, following the example of their leaders, stretched 
forth their hands towards heaven. Then the emperor uttered 
the prayer, and they all repeated it after him. The host, 
doomed to speedy destruction, heard the murmur of the prayers 
of their adversaries. And now, the ceremony having been 
thrice performed, the soldiers of Licinius became full of 
courage, buckled on their helmets again, and resumed their 
shields. The two emperors advanced to a conference : but 
Daia could not be brought to peace ; for he held Licinius in 
contempt, and imagined that the soldiers would presently 
abandon an emperor parsimonious in his donatives, and enter 
into the service of one liberal even to profusion. And indeed 
it was on this notion that he be^an the war. He looked for 

O 

the voluntary surrender of the armies of Licinius ; and, thus 
reinforced, he meant forthwith to have attacked Constantine. 

CHAPTER XLVII. 

So the two armies drew nigh ; the trumpets gave the signal ; 
the military ensigns advanced; the troops of Licinius charged. 
But the enemies, panic-struck, could neither draw their 
swords nor yet throw their javelins. Daia went about, and, 
alternately by entreaties and promises, attempted to seduce 
the soldiers of Licinius. But he was not hearkened to in any 
quarter, and they drove him back. Then were the troops of 
Daia slaughtered, none making resistance ; and such numerous 
legions, and forces so mighty, were mowed down by an inferior 
enemy. No one called to mind his reputation, or former 
valour, or the honourable rewards which had been conferred on 
him. The supreme God did so place their necks under the sword 
of their foes, that they seemed to have entered the field, not as 
combatants, but as men devoted to death. After great numbers 
had fallen, Daia perceived that everything went contrary to 
bis hopes ; and therefore he threw aside the purple, and having 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 207 

put on the habit of a slave, hasted across the Thracian Bosphorus. 
One half of his army perished in battle, and the rest either 
surrendered to the victor or fled; for now that the emperor 
himself had deserted, there seemed to be no shame in desertion. 
Before the expiration of the kalends of May, Daia arrived at 
Nicomedia, although distant one hundred and sixty miles 
from the field of battle. So in the space of one day and two 
nights he performed that journey. Having hurried away with 
his children and wife, and a few officers of his court, he went 
towards Syria ; but having been joined by some troops from 
those quarters, and having collected together a part of his 
fugitive forces, he halted in Cappadocia, and then he resumed 
the imperial garb. 

CHAPTER XLVIII. 

. Not many days after the victory, Licinius, having received 
part of the soldiers of Daia into his service, and properly dis 
tributed them, transported his army into Bithynia, and having 
made his entry into Nicomedia, he returned thanks to God, 
through whose aid he had overcome ; and on the ides of June 
(loth June), while he and Constantine were consuls for the 
third time, he commanded the following edict for the restora 
tion of the Church, directed to the president of the province, 
to be promulgated : 

" When we, Constantine and Licinius, emperors, had an 
interview at Milan, and conferred together with respect to the 
good and security of the commonweal, it seemed to us that, 
amongst those things that are profitable to mankind in general, 
the reverence paid to the Divinity merited our first and chief 
attention, and that it was proper that the Christians and all 
others should have liberty to follow that mode of religion which 
to each of them appeared best ; so that that God, who is seated 
in heaven, might be benign and propitious to us, and to every 
one under our government : and therefore we judged it a 
salutary measure, and one highly consonant to right reason, 
that no man should be denied leave of attaching himself to the 
rites of the Christians, or to whatever other religion his mind 
directed him, that thus the supreme Divinity, to whose wor 
ship we freely devote ourselves, might continue to vouchsafe 
His favour and beneficence to us. And accordingly we give 



208 LACTANTIUS. 

you to know that, without regard to any provisos in our former 
orders to you concerning the Christians, all who choose that 
religion are to be permitted, freely and absolutely, to remain in 
it, and not to be disturbed any ways, or molested. And we 
thought fit to be thus special in the things committed to your 
charge, that you might understand that the indulgence which 
we have granted in matters of religion to the Christians is 
ample and unconditional ; and perceive at the same time that 
the open and free exercise of their respective religions is granted 
to all others, as well as to the Christians : for it befits the well- 
ordered state and the tranquillity of our times that each indi 
vidual be allowed, according to his own choice, to worship the 
Divinity ; and we mean not to derogate aught from the honour 
due to any religion or its votaries. Moreover, with respect to 
the Christians, we formerly gave certain orders concerning the 
places appropriated for their religious assemblies; but now we 
will that all persons who have purchased such places, either 
from our exchequer or from any one else, do restore them to 
the Christians, without money demanded or price claimed, and 
that this be performed peremptorily and unambiguously ; and 
we will also, that they who have obtained any right to such 
places by form of gift do forthwith restore them to the Chris 
tians : reserving always to such persons, who have either pur 
chased for a price, or gratuitously acquired them, to make 
application to the judge of the district, if they look on them 
selves as entitled to any equivalent from, our beneficence. All 
those places are, by your intervention, to be immediately restored 
to the Christians. And because it appears that, besides the 
places appropriated to religious worship, the Christians did 
possess other places, which belonged not to individuals, but 
to their society in general, that is, to their churches, we 
comprehend all such within the regulation aforesaid, and we 
will that you cause them all to be restored to the society or 
churches, and that without hesitation or controversy : Provided 
always, that the persons making restitution without a price paid 
shall be at liberty to seek indemnification from our bounty. In 
furthering all which things for the behoof of the Christians, you 
are to use your utmost diligence, to the end that our orders be 
speedily obeyed, and our gracious purpose in securing the 
public tranquillity promoted. So shall that divine favour 






THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 209 

which, in affairs of the mightiest importance, we have already 
experienced, continue to give success to us, and in our successes 
make the commonweal happy. And that the tenor of this our 
gracious ordinance may be made known unto all, we will that 
you cause it by your authority to be published everywhere." 

Licinius having issued this ordinance, made an harangue, 
in which he exhorted the Christians to rebuild their religious 
edifices. 

And thus, from the overthrow of the Church until its 
restoration, there was a space of ten years and about four 
months. 

CHAPTER XLIX. 

While Licinius pursued with his army, the fugitive tyrant 
retreated, and again occupied the passes of mount Taurus; 
and there, by erecting parapets and towers, attempted to stop 
the march of Licinius. But the victorious troops, by an attack 
made on the right, broke through all obstacles, and Daia at 
length fled to Tarsus. There j being hard pressed both by sea 
and land, he despaired of finding any place for refuge ; and in 
the anguish and dismay of his mind, he sought death as the 
only remedy of those calamities that God had heaped on him. 
But first he gorged himself with food, and large draughts of 
wine, as those are wont who believe that they eat and drink 
for the last time ; and so he swallowed poison. However, the 
force of the poison, repelled by his full stomach, could not 
immediately operate, but it produced a grievous disease, resem 
bling the pestilence ; and his life was prolonged only that his 
sufferings might be more severe. And now the poison began 
to rage, and to burn up everything within him, so that he was 
driven to distraction with the intolerable pain ; and during a 
fit of frenzy, which lasted four days, he gathered handfuls of 
earth, and greedily devoured it. Having undergone various 
and excruciating torments, he dashed his forehead against the 
wall, and his eyes started out of their sockets. And now, 
become blind, he imagined that he saw God, with His servants 
arrayed in white robes, sitting in judgment on him. He roared 
out as men on the rack are wont, and exclaimed that not ht, 
but others, were guilty. In the end, as if he had been racked 
into confession, he acknowledged his own guilt, and lamentably 

LACT. VOL. II. O 



210 LACTANTIUS. 

implored Christ to have mercy upon him. Then, amidst groans, 
like those of one burnt alive, did he breathe out his guilty soul 
in the most horrible kind of death. 

CHAPTER L. 

Thus did God subdue all those who persecuted His name, 
so that neither root nor branch of them remained ; for Licinius, 
as soon as he was established in sovereign authority, commanded 
that Valeria should be put to death. Daia, although exaspe 
rated against her, never ventured to do this, not even after his 
discomfiture and flight, and when he knew that his end ap 
proached. Licinius commanded that Candidianus also should 
be put to death. He was the son of Galerius by a concubine, 
and Valeria, having no children, had adopted him. On the 
news of the death of Daia, she came in disguise to the court of 
Licinius, anxious to observe what might befall Candidianus. 
The youth, presenting himself at Nicomedia, had an outward 
show of honour paid to him, and, while he suspected no harm, 
was killed. Hearing of this catastrophe, Valeria immediately 
fled. The Emperor Severus left a son, Severianus, arrived at 
man s estate, who accompanied Daia in his flight from the field 
of battle. Licinius caused him to be condemned and executed, 
under the pretence that, on the death of Daia, he had intentions 
of assuming the imperial purple. Long before this time; Can 
didianus and Severianus, apprehending evil from Licinius, had 
chosen to remain with Daia ; while Valeria favoured Licinius, 
and was willino- to bestow on him that which she had denied 

CD 

to Daia, all rights accruing to her as the widow of Galerius. 
Licinius also put to death Maximus, the son of Daia, a boy 
eight years old, and a daughter of Daia, who was seven years 
old, and had been betrothed to Candidianus. But before their 
death, their mother had been thrown into the Orontes, in which 
river she herself had frequently commanded chaste women to 
be drowned. So, by the unerring and just judgment of God, 
all the impious received according to the deeds that they had 
done. 

CHAPTER LI. 

Valeria, too, who for fifteen months had wandered under a 
mean garb from province to province, was at length discovered 



THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSECUTORS DIED. 211 

in Thessalonica, was apprehended, together with her mother 
Prisca, and suffered capital punishment. Both the ladies were 
conducted to execution ; a fall from grandeur which moved the 
pity of the multitude of beholders that the strange sight had 
gathered together. They were beheaded, and their bodies cast 
into the sea. Thus the chaste demeanour of Valeria, and the 
high rank of her and her mother, proved fatal to both of them. 

CHAPTER LII. 

I relate all those things on the authority of well-informed 
persons ; and I thought it proper to commit them to writing 
exactly as they happened, lest the memory of events so impor 
tant should perish, and lest any future historian of the perse 
cutors should corrupt the truth, either by suppressing their 
offences against God, or the judgment of God against them. 
To His everlasting mercy ought we to render thanks, that, 
having at length looked on the earth, He deigned to collect 
again and to restore His flock, partly laid waste by ravenous 
wolves, and partly scattered abroad, and to extirpate those 
noxious wild beasts who had trod down its pastures, and de 
stroyed its resting-places. Where now are the surnames of 
the Jovii and the Herculii^ once so glorious and renowned 
amongst the nations ; surnames insolently assumed at first by 
Diocles and Maximian, and afterwards transferred to their 
successors ? The Lord has blotted them out and erased them 
from the earth. Let us therefore with exultation celebrate 
the triumphs of God, and oftentimes with praises make 
mention of His victory ; let us in our prayers, by night and 
by day, beseech Him to confirm for ever that peace which, 
after a warfare of ten years, He has bestowed on His own : 
and do you, above all others, my best beloved Donatus, who so 
well deserve to be heard, implore the Lord that it would please 
Him propitiously and mercifully to continue His pity towards 
His servants, to protect His people from the machinations and 
assaults of the devil, and to guard the now flourishing churches 
in perpetual felicity ! 



FEAGMENTS 
LACTANTIUS FIRMIANUS, 



I. FEAR, love, joy, sadness, lust, eager desire, anger, pity, 
emulation, admiration, these motions or affections of the 
mind exist from the beginning of man s creation by the Lord ; 
and they were usefully and advantageously introduced into 
human nature, that by governing himself by these with method, 
and in accordance with reason, man may be able, by acting 
manfully, to exercise those good qualities by means of which 
he would justly have deserved to receive from the Lord eternal 
life. For these affections of the mind being restrained within 
their proper limits, that is, being rightly employed, produce at 
present good qualities, and in the future eternal rewards. But 
when they advance 1 beyond their boundaries, that is, when 
they turn aside to an evil course, then vices and iniquities come 
forth, and produce everlasting punishments. 
Muratorii Antiquit. Ital. med. xv. 

II. Within our memory, also, Lactantius speaks of metres, 
the pentameter (he says) and the tetrameter. 

Maxim. Victorin. de carmine lieroico. (Cf. Hieron. Catal. c. 80. We 
have also another treatise, which is entitled " On Grammar.") 

III. Firmianus, writing to Probus on the metres of comedies, 
thus speaks : " For as to the question which you proposed con 
cerning the metres of comedies, I also know that many are of 
opinion that the plays of Terence in particular have not the 
metre of Greek comedy, that is, of Menander, Philemon, and 

1 "Affluentes." 
212 



FRAGMENTS OF LACTANTIUS FIBMIANUS. 213 

Diphilus, which consist of trimeter verses; fpr our ancient 
writers of comedies, in the modulation of their plays, preferred 
to follow Eupolis, Cratinus, and Aristophanes, as has been 
before said." That there is a measure that is, metre 1 in the 
plays of Terence and Plautus, and of the other comic and 
tragic writers, let these declare: Cicero, Scaurus, and Fir- 



o 

mianus. 



Rufinus, the grammarian, on Comic Metres, p. 2712. 

IV. We will bring forward the sentiments of our Lactantius, 
which he expressed in words in his third volume to Probus on 
this subject. The Gauls, he says, were from ancient times 
called Galatians, from the whiteness of their body ; and thus 
the Sibyl terms them. And this is what the poet intended to 
signify when he said, (( Gold collars deck their milk-white 
necks," 2 when he might have used the word "white." It is 
plain that from this the province was called Galatia, in which, 
on their arrival in it, the Gauls united themselves with Greeks, 
from which circumstance that region was called Gallograscia, 
and afterwards Galatia. And it is no wonder if he said this 
concerning the Galatians, and related that a people of the West, 
having passed over so great a distance in the middle of the 
earth, settled in a region of the East. 

Hieron. Commentar. in ep. ad Gal. 1. ii., opp. ed. Vallars. viii. 1, p. 
426. (Hieron. De Viris Ilius. c. 80 : we have " four books of epistles 
to Probus.") 

1 ftsTpoy. 2 Virg. /En. viii. 6GO. 



THE PHCENIX. 

BY AN UNCERTAIN AUTHOR. 
ATTKIBUTED TO LANCTANTIUS. 



THERE is a happy spot, retired 1 in the first East, where the 
great gate of the eternal pole lies open. It is not, however, 
situated near to his rising in summer or in winter, but where 
the sun pours the day from his vernal chariot. There a plain 
spreads its open tracts ; nor does any mound rise, nor hollow 
valley open 2 itself. But through twice six ells that place rises 
above the mountains, whose tops are thought to be lofty among 
us. Here is the grove of the sun ; a wood stands planted with 
many a tree, blooming with the honour of perpetual foliage. 
When the pole had blazed with the fires of Phaethon, that 
place was uninjured by the flames ; and when the deluge had 
immersed the world in waves, it rose above the waters of 
Deucalion. No enfeebling diseases, no sickly old age, nor 
cruel death, nor harsh fear, approaches hither, nor dreadful 
crime, nor mad desire of riches, nor Mars, nor fury, burning 
with the love of slaughter. 3 Bitter grief is absent, and want 
clothed in rags, and sleepless cares, and violent hunger. No 
tempest rages there, nor dreadful violence of the wind; 
nor does the hoar-frost cover the earth with cold dew. No 
cloud extends its fleecy 4 covering above the plains, nor 
does the turbid moisture of water fall from on high; but 

1 " Remotus." The reference is supposed to be to Arabia, though some 
think that India is pointed out as the abode of the phoenix. 
2 "Hiat." 

" Csedis amore furor." There is another reading, " cedit." 
"Vellera," thin fleecy clouds. So Virg. Gcorg. i. 397: " Tenuia nee 
lanse per coelum vellera ferri." 

214 



THE PI-KENIX. 215 

there is a fountain in the middle, which they call by the 
name of " living ; 5l it is clear, gentle, and abounding with 
sweet waters, which, bursting forth once during the space 
of each 2 month, twelve times irrigates all the grove with 
waters. Here a species of tree, rising with lofty stem, bears 
mellow fruits not about to fall on the ground. This grove, 
these woods, a single 3 bird, the phoenix, inhabits, single, but it 
lives reproduced by its own death. It obeys and submits 4 to 
Phoebus, a remarkable attendant. Its parent nature has given 
it to possess this office. When at its first rising the saffron 
morn grows red, when it puts to flight the stars with its rosy light, 
thrice and four times she plunges her body into the sacred waves, 
thrice and four times she sips water from the living stream. 5 
She is raised aloft, and takes her seat on the highest top of the 
lofty tree, which alone looks down upon the whole grove; 
and turning herself to the fresh risings of the nascent Phoebus, 
she awaits his rays and rising beam. And when the sun has 
thrown back the threshold of the shining gate, and the light 
gleam 6 of the first light has shone forth, she begins to pour 
strains of sacred song, and to hail 7 the new light with wondrous 
voice, which neither the notes of the nightingale 8 nor the flute 
of the Muses can equal with Cyrrhsean 9 strains. But neither 
is it thought that the dying swan can imitate it, nor the tune 
ful strings of the lyre of Mercury. After that Phoebus has 
brought back his horses to the open heaven, 10 and continually 
advancing, has displayed 11 his whole orb; she applauds with 
thrice-repeated flapping of her wings, and having thrice adored 

i u Yi vum . 2 " Per singula tempora mensum." 

3 Unica," the only one. It was supposed that only one phoenix lived 
at one time. So the proverb, " Phoenice rarior." 

* Birds were considered sacred to peculiar gods ; thus the phoenix was 
held sacred to Phoebus. 

5 " Gurgite." 

e "Aura." So Virg. &ndd, vi. 201: "Discolor unde aun per ramos 

aura refulsit." 
7 u Qigre " 
s "Aedonise voces." The common reading is ""^donus," contrary to the 

o i. e. strains of Apollo and the Muses, for Cyrrha is at the foot of Par 
nassus, their favourite haunt. 

10 " Aperta Olympi," when he has mounted above the horizon, 
n " Protulit." 



216 LACTANTIUS. 

the fire-bearing head, is silent. And she also distinguishes the 
swift hours by sounds not liable to error by day and night : an 
overseer 1 of the groves, a venerable priestess of the wood, and 
alone admitted to thy secrets, O Phoebus. And when she 
has now accomplished the thousand years of her life, and length 
of days has rendered her burdensome, 2 in order that she may 
renew the age which has glided by, the fates pressing 3 her, she 
flees from the beloved couch of the accustomed grove. And 
when she has left the sacred places, through a desire of being 
born 4 again, then she seeks this world, where death reigns. 
Full of years, she directs her swift flight into Syria, to which 
Venus herself has given the name of Phoenice ; 5 and through 
trackless deserts she seeks the retired groves in the place, where 
a remote wood lies concealed through the glens. Then she 
chooses a lofty palm, with top reaching to the heavens, which 
has the pleasing G name of phoenix from the bird, and where 7 no 
hurtful living creature can break through, or slimy serpent, or 
any bird of prey. Then ^Eolus shuts in the winds in hanging 
caverns, lest they should injure the bright 8 air with their blasts, 
or lest a cloud collected by the south wind through the empty 
sky should remove the rays of the sun, and be a hindrance 9 to 
the bird. Afterwards she builds for herself either a nest or a 
tomb, for she perishes that she may live ; yet she produces 
herself. Hence she collects juices and odours, which the 
Assyrian gathers from the rich wood, which the wealthy 
Arabian gathers ; which either the Pygmaean 10 nations, or India 
crops, or the Sabsean land produces from its soft bosom. Hence 
she heaps together cinnamon and the odour of the far-scented 
amomum, and balsams with mixed leaves. Neither the twig of 
the mild casia nor of the fragrant acanthus is absent, nor the 
tears and rich drop of frankincense. To these she adds tender 

Antistes." 2 " Gravem," i.e. a burden to herself. 

Fatis urgentibus ; " others read " spatiis vergcntibus." 
Studio reuascendi." 

Venus was worshipped in Syro-Phrenice. 
Gratum ;" others read " Graium," Grecian. 
Qua ;" another reading is " quam," that which. 
Purpureum." There may be a reference to the early dawn. 
Obsit." 

10 Some ancient writers place these fabulous people in India, others be 
yond Arabia. 



THE PHCENIX. 217 

cars l of flourishing spikenard, and joins the too pleasing 
pastures 2 of myrrh. Immediately she places her body about to 
be changed on the strewed nest, and her quiet limbs on such 3 
a couch. Then with her mouth she scatters juices around and 
upon her limbs, about to die with her own funeral rites. Then 
amidst various odours she yields up 4 her life, nor fears the 
faith of so great a deposit. In the meantime, her body, de 
stroyed by death, which proves the source of life, 5 is hot, and 
the heat itself produces a flame ; and it conceives fire afar off 
from the light of heaven : it blazes, and is dissolved into burnt 
ashes. And these ashes collected in death jt fuses, 6 as it were, 
into a mass, and has an effect 7 resembling seed. From this an 
animal is said to arise without limbs, but the worm is said to 
be of a milky colour. And it suddenly increases vastly with an 
imperfectly formed 8 body, and collects itself into the appear 
ance of a well-rounded egg. After this it is formed again, 
such as its figure was before, and the phoenix, having burst 
her shell, 9 shoots forth, even as caterpillars 10 in the fields, 
when they are fastened by a thread to a stone, are wont to 
be changed into a butterfly. No food is appointed for her 
in our world, nor does any one make it his business to feed 
her while unfledged. She sips the delicate n ambrosial dews of 
heavenly nectar which have fallen from the star-bearing pole. 
She gathers these ; with these the bird is nourished in the midst 
of odours, until she bears a natural form. But when she begins 
to flourish with early youth, she flies forth now about to return 
to her native abode. Previously, however, she encloses in an 
ointment of balsam, and in myrrh and dissolved 12 frankincense, 
all the remains of her own body, and the bones or ashes, and 

1 " Aristas." The word is sometimes applied, as here, to spikenard. 

2 " Et sociat myrrhse pascua grata nimis ; " another reading is, " et sociarn 
myrrhse vim, Panachaia tuse." 

3 " In talique toro ;" others, " vitalique toro," i.e. on a death-bed. 

4 " Commendat." 5 " Genitali," productive ; observe the antithesis. 

6 "Conflat." 

7 " Effectum ;" others read, " ad f return seminis instar habent." 

8 " Cum corpore curto ;" others read, "cum tempore certo." 

9 " Ruptis exuviis." The same word is used by Virgil to describe the 
serpent slipping its skin " positis exuviis." 

10 " Tiuese." u " Tenues ; " others read " teneri." 
12 " Thure soluto." 



218 LACTANT1US. 

relics 1 of herself, and with pious mouth brings it into a 
round form, 2 and carrying this with her feet, she goes to the 
rising of the sun, and tarrying at the altar, she draws it 
forth in the sacred temple. She shows and presents herself 
an object of admiration to the beholder ; such great beauty is 
there, such great honour abounds. In the first place, her 
colour is like the brilliancy 3 of that which the seeds of the 
pomegranate when ripe take under the smooth rind; 4 such 
colour as is contained in the leaves which the poppy produces 
in the fields, when Flora spreads her garments beneath the 
blushing sky. Her shoulders and beautiful breasts shine with 
this covering ; with this her head, with this her neck, and the 
upper parts of her back shine. And her tail is extended, varied 
with yellow metal, in the spots of which mingled purple blushes. 
Between her wings there is a bright 5 mark above, as 6 Tris on 
high is wont to paint a cloud from above. She gleams resplen 
dent with a mingling of the green emerald, and a shining beak 7 
of pure horn opens itself. Her eyes are large; 8 you might 
believe that they were two jacinths; 9 from the middle of which 
a bright flame shines. An irradiated crown is fitted 10 to the 
whole of her head, resembling on high the glory of the head of 
Phoebus. 11 Scales cover her thighs spangled with yellow metal, 
but a rosy 12 colour paints her claws with honour. Her form is 
seen to blend the figure of the peacock with that of the painted 
bird of Phasis. 13 The winged creature which is produced in the 
lands of the Arabians, whether it be beast or bird, can scarcely 
equal her magnitude. 14 She is not, however, slow, as birds which 

1 " Exuvias suas." 2 " In formam conglobat." 

3 " Quern croceum." The word is properly used to denote the colour of 
saffron ; it is also applied to other bright colours. 

4 " Sub cortice Isevi ; " the common reading is " sub sidere cseli." 
" Clarum insigne ;" others read, " aurum . . . insigneque." 

6 " Ceu ;" others read, " seu." 

7 " Gemmea cuspis." Her beak is of horn, but bright and transparent 
as a gem, 

8 " Ingentes oculi ;" others read, " oculos." 

9 " Hyacinthos ; " gems of this colour. 

10 " ^Equator." " i.e. the rays of the sun. 
2 " Eoseus ; " others read, * roseo honore." 

13 The pheasant. 

14 " Magniciem." Some take this as denoting the name of a bird, but no 
such bird is known. 



THE PHOENIX. 219 

through the greatness of their body have sluggish motions, and 
a very heavy 1 weight. But she is light and swift, full of royal 
beauty. Such she always shows herself 2 in the sight of men. 
Egypt comes hither to such a wondrous 8 sight, and the 
exulting crowd salutes the rare bird. Immediately they carve 
her image on the consecrated marble, and mark both the 
occurrence and the day with a new title. Birds of every 
kind assemble together ; none is mindful of prey, none of fear. 
Attended by a chorus of birds, she flies through the heaven, 
and a crowd accompanies her, exulting in the pious duty. But 
when she has arrived at the regions of pure ether, she pre 
sently returns; 4 afterwards she is concealed in her own regions. 
But oh, bird of happy lot and fate, 5 to whom the god himself 
granted to be born from herself ! Whether it be female, or 
male, or neither, or both, happy she, who enters into 6 no com 
pacts of Venus. Death is Venus to her ; her only pleasure is 
in death : that she may be born, she desires previously to die. 
She is an offspring to herself, her own father and heir, her own 
nurse, and always a foster-child to herself. She is herself 
indeed, but not the same, since she is herself, and not herself, 
having gained eternal life by the blessing of death. 

1 " Pergrave pondus ;" others read, " per grave pondus," "by reason of 
the heavy weight." 

2 " Se exhibet ;" others read, " se probat." 

3 " Tanti ad miracula visus." 

4 " Inde ; " others read, " ille," but the allusion is very obscure. 

5 " Fili," the thread, i.e. of fate. 6 " Colit." 



A POEM, 

BY AN UNCERTAIN AUTHOR, 

ON THE PASSION OF THE LORD 



WHOEVER you are who approach, and are enterino- the pre 
cincts 1 of the middle of the temple, stop a little and look upon 
me, who, though innocent, suffered for your crime ; lay me up 
in your mind, keep me in your breast. I am He who, pityino- 
the bitter misfortunes of men, came hither as a messenger 2 ol 
offered peace, and as a full atonement 3 for the fault of men. 4 
Here the brightest light from above is restored to the earth 
here is the merciful image of safety; here I am a rest to you 
the right way, the true redemption, the banner 5 of God and 
a memorable sign of fate. It was on account of you and your 
life that I entered the virgin s womb, was made man, and suf 
fered a dreadful death; nor did I find rest anywhere in the 
regions of the earth, but everywhere threats, everywhere labours 
Iirst of all a wretched dwelling 6 in the land of Judaea was a 
shelter for me at my birth, and for my mother with me: here 
first, amidst the outstretched sluggish cattle, dry grass gave 
me a bed in a narrow stall. I passed my earliest years in the 
Fliamn regions, being an exile in the reign of Herod; and 
after my return to Judaea I spent the rest of my years, always 
engaged m fastings, and the extremity of poverty itself, and 
the lowest circumstances; always by healthful admonitions 
applying the minds of -men to the pursuit of genial upright- 

the threshold. " Inteipres." 



220 



A POEM ON THE PASSION OF THE LORD. 221 

ness, uniting with wholesome teaching many evident miracles : 
on which account impious Jerusalem, harassed by the raging 
cares of envy and cruel hatred, and blinded by madness, dared 
to seek for me, though innocent, by deadly punishment, a cruel 
death on the dreadful cross. And if you yourself wish to dis 
criminate these things more fully, 1 and if it delights you to go 
through all my groans, and to experience griefs with me, put 
together 2 the designs and plots, and the impious price of my 
innocent blood, and the pretended kisses of a disciple, 3 and the 
insults and strivings of the cruel multitude; and, moreover, 
the blows, and tongues prepared 4 for accusations. Picture to 
your mind both the witnesses, and the accursed 5 judgment of 
the blinded Pilate, and the immense cross pressing my shoulders 
and wearied back, and my painful steps to a dreadful death. 
Now survey me from head to foot, deserted as I am, and lifted up 
afar from my beloved mother. Behold and see my locks clotted 
with blood, and my blood-stained neck under my very hair, 
and my head drained 6 with cruel thorns, and pouring down 
like rain 7 from all sides a stream 8 of blood over my divine 
face. Survey my compressed and sightless eyes, and my 
afflicted cheeks; see my parched tongue poisoned with gall, 
and my countenance pale with death. Behold my hands 
pierced with nails, and my arms drawn out, and the great 
wound in my side ; see the blood streaming from it, and my 
perforated 9 feet, and blood-stained limbs. Bend your knee, 
and with lamentation adore the venerable wood of the cross, 
and with lowly countenance stooping 10 to the earth, which is 
wet with innocent blood, sprinkle it with rising tears, and at 
times 11 bear me and rny admonitions in your devoted heart. 
Follow the footsteps of my life, and while you look upon my 
torments and cruel death, remembering my innumerable pangs 
of body and soul, learn to endure hardships, 12 and to watch 

I " Latius," more widely, in greater detail. 
2 "Collige." 

3 " Clientis." The " cliens " is one who puts himself under the protec 
tion of a " patronus." Here it is used of a follower. 

4 " Promptas." 5 " Infanda," unspeakable, wicked. 

6 " Haustum." 7 " Pluens." 8 " Vivum cruorem." 

<J " Fossos." 10 " Terrain petens." 

II " Nonnunquain ; " others read, " nunquarn non," always. 
12 "Adversa." 



222 LACTANTIUS. 

over your own safety. These memorials, 1 if at any time you 
find pleasure in thinking over them, if in your mind there is 
any confidence to bear (anything) like my (sufferings), 2 if the 
piety due, and gratitude worthy of my labours shall arise, will 
be incitements 3 to true virtue, and they will be shields against 
the snares of an enemy, aroused 4 by which you will be safe, 
and as a conqueror bear off the palm in every contest. If these 
memorials shall turn away your senses, which are devoted to a 
perishable 5 world, from the fleeting shadow of earthly beauty, 
the result will be, that you will not venture, 6 enticed by empty 
hope, to trust the frail 7 enjoyments of fickle fortune, and to 
place your hope in the fleeting years of life. But, truly, if 
you thus regard this perishable world, 8 and through your love 
of a better country deprive yourself 9 of earthly riches and the 
enjoyment of present things, 10 the prayers of the pious will 
bring you up u in sacred habits, and in the hope of a happy 
life, amidst severe punishments, will cherish you with heavenly 
dew, and feed you with the sweetness of the promised good. 
Until the great favour of God shall recall your happy 12 soul to 
the heavenly regions, 13 your body being left after the fates of 
death. Then freed from all labour, then joyfully beholding 
the angelic choirs, and the blessed companies of saints in per 
petual bliss, it shall reign with me in the happy abode of per 
petual peace. 

I " Monumenta." 2; Meorum." 3 " Stimuli." 
4 " Acer." 5 " Labilis orbis amicos sensus." 

6 " Auseris," an unusual form. 7 " Occiduis rebus." 

8 " Ista caduca ssecula." 9 " Exuturn." 

10 "Eerum usus." 

II "Extollent." The reading is uncertain; some editions have " e*- 
polient." 

12 " Purpuream," bright, or shining. 

13 " Sublimes ad auras." 



POEM 

OF 

VENANTIUS HONOBIUS 1 CLEIENTIANUS FORTUNATTJS, 

ON EASTEE, 



THE seasons blush varied with the flowery, fair weather, 2 and 
the gate of the pole lies open with greater light. His path in 
the heaven raises the fire-breathing 3 sun higher, who goes forth 
on his course, 4 and enters the waters of the ocean. Armed with 
rays traversing the liquid elements, in this 5 brief night he 
stretches out the clay in a circle. The brilliant firmament 6 puts 
forth its clear countenance, and the bright stars show their joy. 
The fruitful earth pours forth its gifts with varied increase/ 
when the year has well returned its vernal riches. 8 Soft beds 
of violets paint the purple plain ; the meadows are green with 
plants, 9 and the plant shines with its leaves. By degrees 
gleaming brightness of the flowers 10 comes forth; all the 
herbs smile with their blossoms. 11 The seed being deposited, 
the corn springs up far and wide 12 in the fields, promising to 
be able to overcome the hunger of the husbandman. Having 
deserted its stem, the vine-shoot bewails its joys ; the vine gives 

1 Venantius Honorius, to whom this poem is ascribed, -was an Italian 
presbyter and poet. In some editions the title is De, Resurrectione, Ifc 
was addressed to the bishop Felix. 

2 " Florigero sereno." 3 " Ignivomus." 4 " Vagus." 

5 " Hac in nocte brevi." Other editions read, " adhuc nocte brevi." 

6 " ^Ethera," an unusual form. 7 " Foetu ; " others read " cultu." 

8 " Cum bene vernales reddidit annus opes." Another reading is, " cum 
bene vernarit ; reddit et annus opes." 

9 " Herbis." 10 " Stellantia lumina florum." 

11 "Floribus;" another reading is, " arridentque oculis." 

12 " Late ;" others read, " lacteus," juicy. 

223 



224 LACTANTIUS. 

water only from the source from which it is wont to give wine. 
The swelling bud, rising with tender down from the back of 
its mother, prepares its bosom for bringing forth. Its foliage 1 
having been torn off in the wintry season, the verdant grove 
now renews its leafy shelter. Mingled together, the willow, 
the fir, the hazel, the osier, 2 the elm, the maple, the walnut, 
each tree applauds, delightful with its leaves. Hence the bee, 
about to construct its comb, leaving the hive, humming over 
the flowers, carries off honey with its leg. The bird which, 
having closed its song, was dumb, sluggish with the wintry 
cold, returns to its strains. Hence Philomela attunes her notes 
with her own instruments, 3 and the air becomes sweeter with 
the re-echoed melody. Behold, the favour of the reviving 
world bears witness that all gifts have returned together with 
its Lord. For in honour of Christ rising triumphant after 
(His descent to) the gloomy Tartarus, the grove on every side 
with its leaves (expresses approval), the plants with their flowers 
express approval. 4 The light, the heaven, the fields, and the 
sea duly praise the God ascending above the stars, having 
crushed the laws of hell. Behold, He who was crucified reigns 
as God over all things, and all created objects offer prayer to 
their Creator. Hail, festive day, to be reverenced throughout 
the world, 5 on which God has conquered hell, and gains the stars! 
The changes of the year and of the months, the bounteous 
light of the days, the splendour of the hours, all things with 
voice applaud. 6 Hence, in honour of you, the wood with its 
foliage applauds ; hence the vine, with its silent shoot, gives 
thanks. Hence the thickets now resound with the whisper of 
birds ; amidst these the sparrow sings with exuberant 7 love. 

1 " Foliorum crine revulso ;" others read, " refuso." 

2 " Siler," supposed to be the osier, but the notices of the tree are too 
scanty to enable us to identify it. See Conington, Virg. Ge.org. ii. 12. 

3 " Suis attemperat organa cannis." "Canna" seems to be used for 
"gutturis canna," the windpipe; " organum," often used for a musical 
instrument. 

4 " Favent." 5 " Toto venerabilis cove/ 

"Mobilitas anni, mensum, lux alma dierum 

Horarum splendor, stridula cuncta favent." 

There are great variations in the readings of this passage. Some read 
" Nobilitas anni, mensum decus, alma dierum, 

Horarum splendor, scriptula, puncta fovent." 
7 " Nimio ;" another reading is, " minimus." 



POEM ON EASTER. 225 

O Christ, Thou Saviour of the world, merciful Creator and 
Redeemer, the only offspring from the Godhead of the Father, 
flowing in an indescribable 1 manner from the heart of Thy 
Parent, Thou self-existing Word, and powerful from the mouth 
of Thy Father, equal to Him, of one mind with Him, His 
fellow, coeval with the Father, from whom at first 2 the world 
derived its origin ! Thou dost suspend the firmament, 3 Thou 
heapest together the soil, Thou dost pour forth the seas, by whose 4 
government all things which are fixed in their places flourish. 
Who seeing that the human race was plunged in the depth 5 
(of misery), that Thou mightest rescue man, didst Thyself also 
become man : nor wert Thou willing only to be born with a 
body, 6 but Thou becamest flesh, which endured to be born 
and to die. Thou dost undergo 7 funeral obsequies, Thyself 
the author of life and (f ramer) of the world, Thou dost enter 8 
the path of death, in giving the aid of salvation. The gloomy 
chains of the infernal law yielded, and chaos feared to be 
pressed by the presence 9 of the light. Darkness perishes, put 
to flight by the brightness of Christ ; the thick pall of eternal 10 
night falls. But restore the promised n pledge, I pray Thee, O 
power benign ! The third day has returned ; arise, my buried 
One ; it is not becoming that Thy limbs should lie in the lowly 
sepulchre, nor that worthless stones should press (that which is) 
the ransom 12 of the world. It is unworthy that a stone should 
shut in with a confining 13 rock, and cover Him in whose fist 14 
all things are enclosed. Take away the linen clothes, I pray ; 
leave the napkins in the tomb : Thou art sufficient for us, and 
without Thee there is nothing. Release the chained shades of 
the infernal prison, and recall to the upper regions 15 whatever 

I " Irrecitabiliter." 2 "Principe." 3 "yEthera." 

4 "Quo moderante ;" others read, "quse moderata." 

5 " Profundo." 

6 " Cum corpore ;" others read, " nostro e corpore nasci." 

7 " Pateris vitse auctor ;" others have " patris novus auctor." 

8 " Intras ; " others, " intra." 9 "Luminis ore." 
10 " ^Eternse ;" another reading is, " et tetrse." 

II " Pollicitam ; " others have " sollicitam." 12 " Pretimn mundi." 

13 " Rupe vetante." 

14 " Pugillo." Thus Prov. xxx. 4 : " Who hath gathered the wind in His 
fists?" 

15 " Revoca sursum." 

LACT. VOL. II. p 



226 LACTANTIUS. 

sinks to the lowest depths. Give back Thy face, that the 
world may see the light ; give back the day which flees from 
us at Thy death. But returning, O holy conqueror ! Thou 
didst altogether fill the heaven ! l Tartarus lies depressed, nor 
retains its rights. The ruler of the lower regions, insatiably 
opening his hollow jaws, who has always been a spoiler, 
becomes 2 a prey to Thee. Thou rescuest an innumerable 
people from the prison of death, and they follow in freedom to 
the place whither their leader 3 approaches. The fierce monster 
in alarm vomits forth the multitude whom he had swallowed 
up, and the Lamb 4 withdraws the sheep from the jaw of the 
wolf. Hence re-seeking the tomb from the lower regions, 5 
having resumed Thy flesh, as a warrior Thou earnest back 
ample trophies to the heavens. Those whom chaos held in 
punishment 6 he 7 has now restored ; and those whom death 
might seek, a new life holds. Oh, sacred King, behold. a great 
part of Thy triumph shines forth, when the sacred laver blesses 
pure souls ! A host, clad in white, 8 come forth from the bright 
waves, and cleanse their old 9 fault in a new stream. The 
white garment also designates bright souls, and the shepherd 
has enjoyments from the snow-white flock. The priest Felix 
is added sharing 10 in this reward, who wishes to give double 
talents to his Lord. Drawing those who wander in Gentile error 
to better things, that a beast of prey may not carry them away, 
He guards the fold of God. Those whom guilty Eve had 
before infected, He now restores, fed n with abundant milk at 
the bosom of the Church. By cultivating rustic hearts with 
mild conversations, a crop is produced from a briar by the 
bounty of Felix. The Saxon, a fierce nation, living as it were 
after the manner of wild beasts, when you, O sacred One! apply 
a remedy, the beast of prey resembles 12 the sheep. About to 
remain with you through an age with the return 13 of a hundred- 

1 " Olympum ;" others read, " in orbem," returning to the world. 

2 " Fit ;" others read, " sit." 3 " Auctor." 

4 i. e. the Lamb of God." 5 Post tartara." 

6 " Poenale." 1 a j gte . ano ther reading is, " in te." 

8 An allusion to the white garments in which the newly baptized were 
arrayed. 

" Vetus vitium," original sin ; as it was termed, " peccatum originis." 

10 " Consors ; " others read " concors," harmonious. 

11 " Pastes ;" others, "pastor." 12 " Redd^t." 13 " Centeno reditu." 



POEM ON EASTER. 227 

fold, you fill the barns with the produce of an abundant 
harvest. May this people, free from stain, be strengthened x 
in your arms, and may you bear to the stars a pure pledge to 
God. May one crown be bestowed on you from on high 
(gained) from yourself, 2 may another flourish gained from 
your people. 

1 " Vegetetur ;" another reading is, " agitetur." 

2 " De te j" others read, " deturet," with injury to the metre. 






INDEXES. 



I. INDEX OF TEXTS OF SCRIPTURE. 





PSALMS. 








OLD TESTAMENT. 


VOL. PAGE 

i.l,. . . i. 249 


VOL. PAGE 

xlv. S, . . i. 234 


GENESIS. 

VOL. PAGE 


i. 5, . 
ii. 7, 


i. 471 

i. 244 


xlv. 14, . 
xlv. 14-16, 


i. 285 
i. 237 


xiv. 13, . . i. 229 


iii. 5, 


i. 262 


1. 5, G, . . 


i. 257 




xvi. 10, . 


i. 262 


Hii. 1-6, . 


i. 250 


EXODUS. 


xviii. 43, . 


i. 231 


liii. 7, 


i. 258 


xxiii. 20, . . i. 226 


xxii. 16-18, 


i. 260 


liii. 8, 


i. 224 




xxviii. 4, 5, 


i. 239 


liii. 8-10, 12, . 


i. 259 


NUMBERS. 


xxxiii. 6, . 


i. 225 


Iv. 4, 


i. 214 


xi. 31, . . i. 228 


xxxv. 15, 1G, . 


i. 257 


Ixiii. 10, . i. 233, 234 


xiii. 8, . . i. 252 


xlv. 1, 


i. 226 


Ixvi. 18, 19, 


i. 231 


xxiv. 17, . . i. 238 


xlv. 6, 7, . 


i. 238 








Ixix. 21, . 


i. 258 


JEREMIAH. 




DEUTERONOMY. 
xviii. 17-19, . i. 252 
xviii. G6, . . i. 259 
xxx. 6, . i. 253 


Ixxii. 6, 7, 
Ixxviii. 24, 
Ixxxv. 12, . 
xc. 2, 
xc. 4, 


i. 250 
i. 228 
i. 234 
i. 235 
i. 460 


i. 5, . 
ii. 13, 
iv. 3, 4, . 
viii. 7-19, . 
xi. 18, 19, . 


i. 223 

i. 286 
i. 253 
i. 232 
i. 259 


JOSHUA. 


xciv. 21, 22, 
xcv. 5, 


i. 259 

i. 84 


xii. 7, 8, . 
xv. 9, 


i. 263 
i. 261 


v. 2, . . . i. 253 


civ. 4, 


i. 224 


xvii. 9, 


i. 238 




cix. 6, 


i. 241 


xxv. 4-6, . 


i. 231 


1 SAMUEL. 


ex. 1, 


i. 235 


xxix., Iii.. . 


i. 220 


xvi. 7, . . i. 254 


ex. 3, 4, . 


i. 241 


xxxi. 31, 32, . 


i. 2G3 




cxxxvii. 1, 


i. 240 






2 SAMUEL. 


cxlviii. 6, . . 


i. 88 


E/EKIEL. 




ii. 35, . . i. 241 






Xli., . . . 


i. 232 


vii. 4, 5, 12, 14, 1G, i. 240 


PROVERBS. 










viii. 22-31, 


i. 221 


DANIEL. 




1 KINGS. 






vii., . 


i. 468 


ix. G-9, . . i. 2GO 


ISAIAH. 




vii. 13, 


i. 265 


xix. 10, . . i. 231 i. 2, 3, 


i. 232 


vii. 13, 14, 


i. 234 


| vii. 14, 


i. 233 


xii., . 


i. 186 


2 KINGS. 


ix. 6, 


i. 234 






xxv., . . i. 220 


xi. 1, 2, . 


i. 239 


HOSEA. 






xi. 10, 


i. 239 


vi. 2, 


i. 262 


1 CHRONICLES. 


xix. 20, 


i. 238 


xiii. 13, 14, 


i. 2G2 


vii. 19-22, . . i. 2GO 


xxxv. 3-6, . 


i. 245 


xiii. 14, 


i. 286 




xlii. 6, 7, . 


i. 264 






NEHEMIAH. 


xlv. 1-3, . 


i. 236 


AMOS. 




ix. 26, . . i. 231 


xlv. G, 


i. 285 


viii. 9, 10, . 


i. 2G1 


220 







230 



INDEX OF SUBJECTS, 



MlCAH. 


LUKE. 


EPHESIANS. 


VOL. PAGE 


VOL. PAGE 


VOL. PAGE 


iv. 2, 3, . . i. 252 


vi. 28, . . i. 399 


i. 9, 10, . . i. 214 




viii., . . i. 247 


ii. 12, . . i. 231 


ZECHARIAH. 


xiv. 11, . . i. 328 


iv. 24, . . i. 114 


iii. 1-8, . . i. 241 


xvii. 1, . i. 287 


iv. 26, . . i. 403 


xii. 10, . . i. 260 


xxii. 15, . . i. 231 








COLOSSIANS. 


MALACHJ. 


JOHN. 


i. 18, . . i. 231 


i. 6, . i. 217 


i. 1-3, . . i. 226 


i. 26, 27, . . i. 214 


i. 10, 11, . . i. 231 


i. 9, . . . i. 201 


iii. 2, . . i. 203 




ii. 19, 20, . . i. 256 


iii. 10, . . i. 114 





iii. 29, . . i. 231 






v. 29, . . i. 121 


1 THESSALONIANS. 


APOCRYPHA. 


ix. 9, . i. 245 


iv. 14, . . i. 121 




xii. 25, . . i. 439 




ECCLESIASTICUS. 


xvii. 3, . i. 282 


1 TIMOTHY. 


xxiv. 5-7, . . i. 226 




ii. 5, . . . i. 272 




Aors. 




WISDOM. 


i. 9, . . . i. 235 


HEBREWS. 


ii. 2-22, . . i. 249 


xv. 10, . . i. 229 


i. 2, . . . i. 214 




xxiv. 15, . - . i. 121 


i. 3, . . . i. 285 


BARUCH. 


xxvi. 6, . . i. 311 


i. 7, . . . i. 224 


iii. 35-37, . . i. 338 




iv. 8, . . i. 241 




ROMANS. 


vii. 3, . . i. 237 





i. 22, . . . i. 81 


viii. 2, . . i. 272 




v. 9, 10, . . i. 233 


viii. 13, . . i. 264 


NEW TESTAMENT. 


vii. 15-21, . . i. 276 


x. 30, . . i. 400 




xii. 14, . . i. 399 


xi. 37, . . i. 232 


MATTHEW. 


xii. 19, . . i. 400 




iii. 15, . . i. 244 


xvi. 25, . . i. 225 


1 PETER. 


iii. 17, . . i. 244 




ii. 5, . . . i. 246 


v. 44, . . i. 399 


1 CORINTHIANS. 




viii., . . i. 247 


i. 20, 22, . . i. 213 


2 PETER. 


ix. 33, . . i. 274 


ii. 7, . . . i. 81 


ii. 1, . . . i. 287 


xiv. 24, . . i. 246 


ii. 9, . . . i. 211 


ii. 22, . . i. 254 


xviii. 7, . . i. 287 


ii. 14, . . i. 81 


iii. 8, . i. 491 




xi. 19, . . i. 287 




MARK. 




REVELATION. 


iv., . . . i. 247 


2 CORINTHIANS. 


ii., . . . i. 468 


vii. 37, . . i. 274 


iv. 6, . i. 114 


xi., . i. 232 



IT. INDEX OF PRINCIPAL SUBJECTS. 



ACADEMICS, the, i. 142. 

Accius Nsevius and Tarquinius Priscus 
i. 97. 

Advent of Christ, the, to iudgment, i. 
469, etc., ii. 161. 

Adversary, the, i. 207, 208. 

^Esculapius, i. 23, 24. 

Affections, the, i. 389, 390, ii. 212; 
refutation of the views of the Peri 
patetics respecting, i. 293 : use of 
394, etc., 403, etc 

Africanus, i. 51. 

Amalthea, the goat of, i. 63. 



Anaxagoras, his testimony to the exist 
ence of God, i. 13 ; refutation of his 
answer to the question why he was 
born, 156, 157. 

Anaximenes, his view of God, i. 13. 

Ancestors, the authority of, i. 95, 96, 
97. 

Angels, assigned the care of the earth, 
the corruption of, i. 126, 127, ii. 
110. 

Anger, i. 401, ii. 35; and desire, and 
lust, i. 403, 404 ; forbidden in men, 
ii. 41, etc. 



INDEX OF SUBJECTS. 



231 



Anger of God, the, ii. 1, etc., 31, etc., 
35, etc. 

Aniceris ransoms Plato, i. 199. 

Animals, the lower, their uses, ii. 26; 
use of noxious, 26, 27; the figure and 
limbs of, 59, 60; the folly and error 
of Epicurus in his views respecting, 
62, 63. 

Anointing, i. 222, 223. 

Aiithropians, the, i. 288, note. 

*A.v6pu#as, meaning of the term, i. 74. 

Antichrist, i. 467, 468, 470, 471, ii. 
160. 

Antipodes, the folly of believing that 
there are, i. 169 ; the idea of, ridi 
culous, ii. 122. 

Antisthenes, his testimony to the 
unity of God, i. 13. 

Apollo, his testimony at Colophon to 
the unity of God, i. 18; his disgrace 
ful conduct, 24 ; his utterance re 
specting Jesus, 239. 

Apollonius of Tyana, i. 298 and note. 

Apologists, the first Christian, i. 293. 

Apuleius, i. 298 and note. 

Aratus quoted, i. 63, 303, 304. 

Arcesilas, i. 145, 146, 147. 

Archimedes, the orrery constructed 
by, i. 90. 

Archytas, ii. 37, 38. 

Aristippus and Lais, i. 173. 

Aristotle, the testimony of, to the 
unity of God, i. 13 ; believed the 
world to be eternal, 423. 

Aristoxenus quoted, i. 459. 

Ascension, the, of Jesus, i. 264. 

Asclepiades, i. 434. 

Ass, an, sacrificed to Priapus, i. 61. 

Astrology, etc., invented by demons, 
i. 130. 

Asystaton, the fallacy so called, i. 148. 

Atoms, the world not formed by the 
meeting together of, ii. 14-21. 

Augury, i. 97. 

Augustus Caesar, a remarkable dream 
of, i. 100. 

Aurelian, a persecutor, ii. 168. 

Avarice and idolatry, i. 94. 

BALD Venus, the, i. 56. 

Beasts and men, the production of, ii. 

51, 52 ; the condition of, 53 ; the 

figures of, 59, 60. 
Beginning, the, i. 116, 117. 
Bellona, i. 60. 
Beneficence, various kinds of, i. 382, 

etc. 

Bibaculus, Furius, i. 64. 
Body, the parts of, ii. 64, 70-74. 
Body and soul, the conflict between, 

i. 161. 



Born, why men are, according to 

Cicero, i. 185. 

Bounty, or liberality, i. 379, 380. 
Brutes and men, their similarity and 

dissimilarity, ii. 9-11. 
Burial of the dead, the duty of, i. 385, 

386. 

CAESAR, Julius, made a god, i. 44 ; 
Augustus, a remarkable dream of, 
100. 

Caesars, nominated by Diocletian and 
Maximian, ii. 181-184. 

Cancer, the two stars of, i. 62. 

Candidianus, ii. 210. 

Candles and lights, the vanity of offer 
ing them to God, i. 353. 

Captives, the duty of ransoming, i. 
384. 

Carneades, the Athenian ambassador 
to Rome, disputes for and against 
justice, i. 324, 325 ; the substance 
of his disputation, 328, 329 ; reply 
to the argument of, 330, etc., 334, 
etc. ; epitome of his argument and 
the reply, ii. 140-142. 

Carthaginians, the, offer human sacri 
fices, i. 60. 

Castor and Pollux, i. 24 ; alleged ap 
pearances of, 98. 

Catholic Church, the, i. 288. 

Cato commits suicide, i. 184. 

Chanaanites, the, i. 125. 

Chaos, i. 100. 

Chastity, ii. 152. 

Children, the exposing of, condemned, 
i. 407. 

Chloris and Zephyrus, i. 54. 

Christ, meaning of the name, i. 223 ; 
reason of the incarnation of, 230, 
etc. [see Jesus] ; lie of Hierocles 
respecting, 297 ; not a magician, 

298, 299 ; why believed to be God, 

299, :300 ; advent of, to judgment, 
469, etc., ii. 161 ; the name of, 
known to Himself and the Father, 
125 j twofold nativity of, 126, 127 ; 
the power and works of, 128 ; the 
death of, foretold, 130 ; the resur 
rection and ascension of, 131 ; the 
death of, on the cross, 134, 135 ; 
poem on the passion of, 220-222. 

Christian religion, the, contrasted 
with heathenism, i. 341 ; the be 
ginning of, ii. 165. 

Christian truth, assailed by rash men, 
i. 294, etc. ; the harmony of, 297. 

Christians, the causeless hatred of, 
i. 291 ; tortures inflicted on, by the 
heathen, 310-312 ; refinements of 
cruelty practised on, by the heathen, 



232 



INDEX OF SUBJECTS. 



316-319 ; the increase and punish 
ment of, 321, etc. ; the fortitude of, 
323 ; equality of, 327 ; equity and 
wisdom of, 328 ; the irrationality 
and cruelty of the persecution of, 
exposed, 337-344 ; the unresisting 
submission of, to suffering, 343 ; 
why their God, being almighty, does 
not protect them, 345, etc., 347, 
etc.; the justice and patience of, 
34G; the divine vengeance inflicted 
on the persecutors of, 349, ii. 164- 
211. [See Persecutors.] 

Chronos, i. 36. 

Chrysippus, his testimony to the unity 
of God, i. 13; who he was, S3, note ; 
quoted, ii. 19. 

Church, the Catholic, i. 288, 289. 

Cicero, testimony of, to the unity of 
God, i. 13, 14 ; quoted respecting 
Jupiter, 32 ; his De Natura Deorum 
quoted, 35, 36, 41 ; cited to prove 
the gods to be mere men, 42, 43, 44 ; 
quoted again respecting the gods, 
47 ; saw the folly of idolatry, but 
lacked courage to declare the truth, 
78, 79 ; a memorable saying of, 82 ; 
against Verres, 86, 87 ; on the re 
gularity of nature, 88, 89 ; on reason 
and the authority of ancestors, 95 ; 
on creation, 101, 102 ; on philo- 
sopli3 T , 167 ; refuted in his views 
respecting wisdom, 169-171 ; on the 
character of philosophers, 172, 174 ; 
opinion of, as to why men were 
born, 185 ; how he teaches the im 
mortality of the soul, 185, 186, etc. ; 
on the future of the righteous and 
the wicked, 186 ; of life and death, 
187 ; holds that philosophy is ad 
verse to the multitude, 198/199; on 
fortune, 204 ; on the meaning of re 
ligion, 282 ; on the cause of discord 
amongrnen, 309; prefers deathrather 
than to be changed into a beast, 
317 ; cited respecting the good man 
tortured and the bad man honoured, 
319. 320 ; on justice, 367 ; sets forth 
the invaluableness of the true law, 
370 ; on liberality, 379, 380 ; on 
hospitality, 382, 383 ; on ransoming 
captives, 384 ; on injuries, and the 
forgetting of, 400-403 ; the death of, 
402 ; on the hostility of the lower 
pleasures to virtue, 405 ; on the 
impossibility of repentance, 415 ; 
on conscience, 417, 418 ; answer to 
his question, why God made snakes, 
etc., 433; respecting God, ii. 12; 
on the origin of souls, 20 ; other 
wise cited, i. 420, ii. 34, 50, 51. 



Cimon, i. 372. 

Circensian games, the, i. 409. 

Circumcision, the abolition of, pro 
phesied, i. 253 ; a sign, 254. 

Claudia miraculously moves a vessel 
which had struck on shoals, i. 98. 

Cleanthes, the testimony of, to the 
unity of God, i. 13 ; mode of living 
and death of, 182, note. 

Cleombrutus, i. 184. 

Cloacina, i. 54. 

Ccelus, i. 36. 

Comedies, metres of, ii. 212, 213. 

Commands of God, i. 393, etc., ii 150, 
151. 

Conflict, the, between body and soul, 
i. 161. 

Conjecture, its unsatisfactory nature 
illustrated repudiated by Zeno, i. 
144. 

Conscience, i. 417, 418. 

Constancy, i. 397, 398. 

Constantine, an address to, i. 483 ; 
sent for by his father Constantius, 
ii. 186 ; escapes from Galerius, 186 ; 
acknowledged as emperor by Ga 
lerius, 187; marries Fausta, a 
daughter of Maximian, 189; plotted 
against by Maximian, 191, 192 ; 
commands the statues of Maximian 
to be thrown down, 202 ; plot of 
Daia against, 202 ; his dream and 
the heavenly SIGN shown to ; wages 
war against and defeats Maxentius, 
203 ; edict of, for the restoration of 
the church of Nicomedia, 207-209. 

Creation, not made out of previously 
existing materials, i. 101, 102, etc.; 
the use for which it was intended, 
432, etc. ; of pernicious animals, 
433 ; of man, 434, etc., ii. 108. 

Cross of Jesus, the meaning of, why 
Jesus suffered the death of, i. 276- 
278 ; wonders effected by, a terror 
to demons, 279 ; the virtue of the 
sign of, 280 ; shown to Constantine 
in a dream, ii. 203. 

Cupid, represented by a poet as the 
most powerful of the gods, i. 26. 

Curetes, the, nourishers of Jupiter, i. 
64. 

Cynics, the, i. 173, 174. 

Cyprian, i. 293. 

DATA made Cccsarby Galeriu?, ii. 181, 
182; made emperor, 193, 194; takes 
from the Christians the toleration 
and protection granted by Galerius, 
197 ; his superstition and oppression 
of the people, 198 ; his unbridled 
licentiousness, 198, 199 ; solicits 



INDEX OF SUBJECTS. 



233 



Valeria, widow of Galerius, in mar 
riage, and refused, banishes her, 
199, 200; cruel and barbarous 
treatment of two ladies of high 
rank, 200, 201 ; unites with Max- 
entius against Constantine, 202 ; 
inarches against Licinius and Con 
stantine, 204, 205 ; his battle with 
Licinius, defeat, and flight, 205- 
207 ; his miserable end, 209, 210. 

Danae, i. 28. 

Death and life, how to be regarded, i. 
1SS, 189 ; according to Cicero, 451, j 
452. 

Death, the first and second, i. 121, 
122. 

Decius, a persecutor, ii. 167. 

Demetrianus, i. 301. 

Democritus, i. 194 ; what he says of 
truth, 205. 

Demons, their origin, i. 127 ; meaning 
of the name, 127 and note ; the in 
fluence of, 128-130 ; the inventors of 
asti ology, soothsaying, and divina 
tion, 130 ; the connection of, with 
oracles, 132; the connection of, with 
the religious rites of the heathen, 
135 ; the cross of Jesus a terror to, 
279, 280 ; the gods are nothing else 
than, 280-282 ; the rage of, against 
Christians, 344, 345 ; evil practices 
of, ii. 110. 

Desire, lust, and anger, i. 403, 404. 

Deucalion, i. 115. 

Devil, the origin and fall of, i. 100, 
101 ; tempted and deceived angels, 
but has no power over believers, 
127 ; his wiles and enmity, 207, 
208; bound, 478; loosed, 481, ii. 1G1. 

Diabolus, i. 101. 

Didymus the grammarian, quoted, i. 
67, 68. 

Diocletian, a persecutor, ii. 168 ; his 
avarice, 169 ; a searcher into futu 
rity, 172 ; is stirred up to persecute 
the Christians, 173 ; the plans of 
Galerius to excite him against the 
Christians, 175 ; rages against all 
Christians indiscriminately, 176; his 
sickness, 178 ; forced by Galerius 
to nominate as Ccesars men whom 
he deemed unfit, 179-181 ; obliged 
by Galerius to resign, 181-184; his 
death, 202. 

Dionysius of Sicily, despoils the 
images of the gods, i. 84, 85. 

Divination and soothsaying invented 
by demons, i. 130, etc. 

Dolls, presented to Venus, the 
images of the gods only large, i. 84. 

Doniitian, a persecutor, ii. 160. 



Donatus, ii. 1, 164; the tortures in 
flicted on, his heroic endurance, 177. 
Dreams, remarkable, i. 99, 100, ii. 88. 

EARS, the, the pleasures derived from, 
i. 409, etc. ; and eyes of men, ii. 67, 
68. 

Earth, animals not produced by, but 
by God, i. 105 ; made by God, 105, 
etc.; made for man, 429, 434-437 ; 
the renewal of the, 479, 480. 

East, the, and west, i. 111. 

Easter, a poem on, ii. 223-227. 

Egeria and Numa, i. 65. 

Egyptians, the first astronomers, i. 
126. 

Elements, the, not to be worshipped, 
i. 88, 91, ii. 108 ; the four, i. 121. 

Eloquence, and truth, compared, i. 
138-140 ; how esteemed, 292, 293. 

Empedocles, i. 183, note. 

End, the, i. 479-483. 

Ennius, quoted respecting Jupiter, i. 
34 ; respecting the gods, 39, etc. ; 
respecting Romulus, 44 ; respecting 
Africanus, 51. 

Epicurus, i. 107 ; the adaptation of 
his teaching, 177 ; held there is no 
providence, 178, ii. 13, 119 ; what 
he says of the wise man, i. 201, 202 ; 
and the Stoics, their views of God 
and nature censured, 427, etc.; his 
view of the production of the world, 
431 ; his inquiry why God should 
be supposed to have made man for 
Himself, answered, 435 ; his views 
of God erroneous, ii. 4, 5, 12 ; the 
folly of, 62. 

Error, the origin of, expounded, i. 71, 
etc. ; and truth, the way of, 368. 

Euhemerus, i. 35 and note ; his 
teaching respecting the gods, 39, 
etc. ; respecting Jupiter, ii. 101, 
105. 

Evil things, why permitted in the 
world, ii. 26, 27 ; necessary, 30. 

Example must sustain the precepts 
of a teacher, i. 267, 270. 

Eyes and ears, the, of men, ii. 67. 

FALL, the, of man, i. 123. 

Falsehood and deceit, i. 399. 

False prophet, the, his miracles and 

murders, i. 468. 
Father, God our, i. 216. 
Father, the, and the Son, one God, i. 

284-286. 

Faunus and Fatua Fauna, i. 66, 67. 
Fear, i. 395. 
Fear of God, the, ii. 24. 
Festus Pescenius quoted, i. 60. 



234 



INDEX OF SUBJECTS 



Fire, the divine, which shall burn 
wicked souls, i. 474. 

Fire and water, i. 112 ; forbidden to 
the exiled, 113. 

Flora and Floralia, i. 54. 

Folly, i. 324 ; why justice sometimes 
appears as, 330, etc. ; why Chris 
tians are charged with, 336. 

Forbidden things, to be shunned, ii. 
149, 150. 

Fortitude in religion, ii. 152. 

Fortune, i. 204, 206, 207, 208. 

Fortune, the statue of, speaks, i. 98. 

Freedom of religion, the, in the wor 
ship of God, ii. 138. 

Furies, the three, i. 403. 

Furius and Laelius, the discussion be 
tween, in Cicero, respecting justice, 
i. 330, etc. 

GALERIUS, ii. 171, 172; the mother of, 
stirs him up to destroy the Chris 
tians, 173 ; destroys the church of 
Nicomedia, 174 ; edict of, against 
the Christians, 174, 175 ; his plans 
to inflame Diocletian against the 
Christians, 175 ; gets rid of Diocle 
tian and Maximian, 179-182 ; bar 
barous and oppressive proceedings 
of, 183, 184, 185 ; Constantine 
escapes from, 186 ; compelled to 
send the imperial purple to Con 
stantine, 187 ; his son-in-law Max- 
entius declared emperor at Rome, 
187, 188; invades Italy, but deserted 
by his troops, is obliged to retreat, 
189 ; his oppressions, 192, 193 ; 
stricken with an incurable plague, 
194, 195 ; his remorse, and edict in 
favour of the Christians, 195, 196 ; 
his death, 196, 197. 

Games, the Circensian, their evil in 
fluence, i. 409. 

Ganymede, i. 28, 29. 

Gauls, or Galatians, the, ii. 213. 

Gentiles, the calling of the, ii. 132, 133. 

Germanicus Caesar, his translation of 
a poem of Aratus cited, i. 63, 302, 
303. 

Goat, the, of Amalthea, i. 63. 

God, the universe the work of one, 
i. 6, etc. ; the one, foretold by the 
prophets, 10 ; testified to by the 
poets, 11, ii. 94; borne witness to 
by the philosophers, i. 13, ii. 95 ; 
testimony of Hermes Trismegistus 
to, 14, 15 ; the Sibyls quoted re 
specting, i. 15, 16-18, ii. 96 ; testi 
mony of Apollo to, i. 18, 19, 20 ; 
without a body and without sex, i. 
20, 21, ii. 96; cannot be worshipped 



along with false deities, i. 52; men s 
forgetfulness, yet recognition of, 
72, 73; the Creator, and alone to be 
worshipped, 87, etc. ; the Son -of, 
100, 101 ; the Creator of matter, 
101-109 ; the Creator of the world, 
101-110 ; the Creator of animab, 
117-120; the governor of the world, 
130, 131 ; the patience of, 133, ii. 
11 ; begets the Son, i. 220 ; the 
Father and the Son one, 284-286 ; 
the happy results of worshipping 
Him alone, 309 ; bestows His gifts 
bountifully on all, 326; man s high 
est duty to worship, 351 ; the wor 
ship of, and of other gods contrasted, 
353 ; the first head of the true law 
is to worship and obey Him, 371 ; 
the world and, not to be confounded, 
427, 428, etc.; the anger of, ii. 1, 
etc., 31, etc., 35, etc.; wrong views 
of the Epicureans respecting, 4, 5 ; 
views of the Stoics respecting, 6 ; 
Epicurus and Cicero quoted respect 
ing, 11, 12; the providence of, 13, 
14, etc., Ill, etc. ; the love and 
hatred of, 39 ; the mercy of, 40 ; 
but one, 93; the only, 133; assumed 
a mortal body and died, why ? 134. 

Gods, the, the physical interpretation 
which the Stoics give of, 35, 36, 
etc. ; teaching of Ennius <md Euhe- 
merus respecting, 39 ; how men ob 
tained the name of, 40, etc.; those 
who possess sex proved not to be, 
45, etc. ; the hardships and lewd ness 
of, 48 ; an account of the consecra 
tion of, the bloodshed and crimes 
committed by, 49-51 ; Ceres and 
Liber made, on account of the bene 
fits bestowed by them, 51 ; those 
peculiar to the Romans, and their 
sacred rites, 53, etc., ii. 102; kinds of 
sacrifice offered to, i. 58 ; who first 
introduced the worship of, 65, etc. , 
67, etc. ; the elements and stars re 
garded as, 88, 89; the rites of, vain, 
134, etc. ; of the heathens, demons, 
280-282; the depraving influence of 
the worship of, 316, 353 ; the reli 
gion of, 341 ; the vanity of the wor 
ship of, 443; the vicious actions of, 
ii. 97, 98; the poets do not invent 
all they relate of, 100 ; those pecu 
liar to the barbarians, 104. 

Golden age, the, ii. 106. 4 

Good, the chief, various opinions of 
the philosophers respecting, i. 150, 
ii. 115 ; views of the philosophers 
respecting, refuted, i. 150-155; the 
nature of, determined, and Anaxa- 



INDEX OF SUBJECTS. 



235 



goras refuted, 155-157, 158, etc.; is 
found in immortality alone, 163 ; 
and virtue, 3C4, etc. ; not contained 
in bodily life, 437, 438; cannot exist 
without evil objection answered, 
439, 440, 441. 

Good man, the, and the bad, the sup 
posed treatment of, respectively in 
the world, i. 319. 

HARLOTS made deities, i. 53, 54. 

Heat and cold, i. 111. 

Heathens, the, their persecution of 
Christians reproved, 337, etc., 342, 
343 ; challenged to convict Chris 
tians of error, 338 ; character of, 
352; their worship, 353. 

Hebrews, the, i. 125, 126; sketch of 
the history of, 227-230. 

Hercules, his life and death, i. 22, 23, 
50, ii. 97; sacred rites in honour of, 
at Lindus, in Rhodes, 62. 

Heresies, foretold, i. 286; and heretics, 
287, 288. 

Hermes Trismegistus, his testimony 
to the unity of God, i. 14, 15; on 
the immortality of the soul, 458 ; 
his Complete Treatise quoted, 469. 

Hesiod, on the generation of the gods, 
i. 12; of demons, 127. 

Hierocles, writes against Christianity, 
i. 29G, 297. 

Horace, quoted about the image of 
Priapus, i. 82 ; as to the safety of 
the innocent man, 332 ; on virtue 
and vice, 363. 

Homer, i. 12. 

Hospitality, i. 382. 

Hydaspes, king of Media, i. 465. 

IGNORANCE, human, ii. 1, 2. 

Images, the cause of their first being 
made, and the folly of making, i. 74- 
78; the folly of trusting in, 82, etc. ; 
treated with contempt by their wor 
shippers, 84 ; speaking, 98; of the 
worship of, 136, etc. 

Immortality, the reward of virtue, i. 
162; the chief good found in, 163, 
ii. 118; belongs to the soul, i. 165; 
how taught by Cicero, 185, etc. ; 
sad effects of taking away the hope 
of, 373; upheld by Plato and others, 

446, 447 ; arguments in support of, 

447, etc., 458, ii. 157-159. 
Incarnation of Christ, the, reason of, 

i. 230, etc. ; arguments of unbe 
lievers against, 265, 266. 

Infanticide condemned, i. 407. 

Infants immolated to Saturn, i. 59. 

Inquisitiveness, culpable, i. 189. 



Intestines of the human body, the, 
display the wisdom of God, ii. 74, 
etc. ; unknown use of some, 80, 81. 

Isis, the sacred rites of, i. 60. 

JESUS, the birth of, i. 223 ; the ad 
vent of, foretold by the prophets, 
227 ; born of a virgin according to 
prophecy, 233; Son of God and Son 
of man, God- man, 236-238 ; the 
priesthood of, 241 ; the life and 
miracles of, 244, etc. ; the passion 
of, foretold, 248, 255; hated by tho 
Jews, 255, etc. ; death, burial, and 
resurrection of, 261, etc.; departure 
of, into Galilee after His resurrec 
tion, 262 ; the ascension of, 264 ; 
arguments of unbelievers against 
the resurrection of, 265; His advent 
in the flesh to be a Mediator, 272, 
etc. ; meaning of the miracles of, 
273-275 ; meaning of the passion of, 
275, 276; meaning of His cross, 276- 
278 ; the spotless paschal lamb, a 
type of, 278; a poem on the passion 
of, ii. 220, etc.; a poem on the re 
surrection of, 223, etc. 

Jews, the, the disinheriting of, ii. 
132, 133. 

Judgment, the, i. 469, etc., 471, etc., 
481, etc., ii. 161. 

Juno, explanation of the name, i. 
31. 

Juno Monita, the statue of, speaks, 
i. 98. 

Jupiter, the father of the gods, his 
character and conduct, i. 25 ; the 
origin, life, name, and death of, 26 ; 
Cicero s explanation of the name of, 
31 ; the tomb of, 32 ; three of the 
name, 32 ; the father of, 33 ; the 
Cretan, 63 ; nursed on Mount Ida 
by the Curetes, 63, 64 ; various 
temples built in various places in 
honour of, 68 ; the bad state of 
things which existed when he 
banished his father, 303, 304-306 ; 
the licentious life of, ii. 99 ; em 
blems under which poets veiled the 
tui*pitude of, 99 ; the actions of, 
related by Euhemerus, 101. 

Justice, banished by Jupiter, but re 
stored by Christ, i. 303, 304 ; made 
known to all, but embraced by few, 
308 ; Carneades argues for and 
against, 324, 325 ; what, 325, 326 ; 
answer to objection, 327 ; of the 
Christians, 327, 328 ; violated in 
the persecution of the Christians, ii. 
139 ; the duties of, 145. 

Juvenal quoted, i. 208. 



236 



INDEX OF SUBJECTS. 



KING, the impious, ii. 160. 

Kings, the ten, i. 405. 

Knowledge, discarded by Socrates and 
the Academics, i. 42 ; of many 
things necessary, 145, etc. ; and 
virtue, 3G2 ; human, its imperfec 
tions, ii. 1, etc.; and supposition, 
113, 114. 



and Furius, the disputation 

between, in Cicero respecting jus 

tice, i. 330, etc. 
Lamb, the paschal, a type of Christ, 

i. 278. 

Larentina and Larentinialia, i. 53. 
Last things, the, i. 452-456. 
Last times, the, ii. 159, etc. 
Laughter peculiar to man, i. 10. 
Law, the true, as described by Cicero, 

i. 370 ; the first precept of, 371. 
Leasna, i. 53. 
Liber, i. 24, 25, 62 ; the rites of, in 

troduced into Greece by Orpheus, 

G7. 

Liberality or bounty, i. 379, 380, etc. 
Licinius, Daia incensed at his being 

made emperor, ii. 193, 194 ; Daia 

concludes a treaty with, 197 ; at 

tacked by Daia, 204 ; his dream, 

defeats Daia, 205-207; puts to death 

many, among the rest Valeria, 210, 

211. 

Limbs of men, the, their use, ii. 270. 
Lindus of Rhodes, peculiar religious 

rites in honour of Hercules at, i. 

62, 63. 
Lucilius, quoted, 67, 88, 89 ; respect 

ing the depravity of the people, 

313, 361, 399. 
Lucretius, quoted, i. 65, 80, 168. 178 

179, 180, 183, 284, 399. 
Lust, the source of all evils, i. 304, 

etc.; and desire, and anger, the 

three furies, 403, etc.; the evils 

flowing from, 412. 

MAGICIAN, Christ not a, i. 298, 299. 

Man, the creation of, by God, i. 114, 
121 ; the fable of the creation of, 
by Prometheus, 114, 115 ; why of 
two sexes, 120, etc.; the compound 
nature of, 122 ; the transgression 
and fall of, 123; the peculiar pro 
perty of, to know and worship God, 
158 ; the upright form of, 449 ; 
why God made, ii. 29; how or 
whence sin came to attach to, 30 ; 
placed in Eden, and expelled thence, 
109 ; made on account of God, 157. 

Marcionites, the, i. 288, note. 

Mars, i. 24. 



Matter, not uncreated, i. 101-105 ; 
created by God, 105-108. 

Maxentius, made emperor at Rome, ii. 
187, 188 ; rules along with Maxi- 
miau, 190 ; defeat of, by Constan- 
tine, and death, 203. 

Maximian, Herculius, his character, 
ii. 170, 171 ; resumes the purple, 
188 ; goes into Gaul to give his 
daughter Fausta in marriage to 
Constantine, 189 ; rules with Max 
entius, 190 ; plots against Galerius, 
190; plots against Constantine, 191; 
divested of the purple, 191, 192 ; 
new plots of, against Constantine, 
and death, 192. 

Maximin, Daia, so named by Gale- 
rius when made Ciesar, ii. iSl. 

Mediator, the, Jesus Christ sent to be, 
i. 272. 

Melissa, priestess of Jupiter, i. 68. 

Melisseus, king of the Cretans, i. 68. 

Men, the deification of, among the 
heathen, i. 40-45 ; the original state 
of, according to some writers, 376, 

377 ; the duties of, to each other, 

378 ; created by God for Himself, 
433, 434 ; the production of, and of 
beasts, ii. 51, 52 ; the weakness of, 
56; the bodies of, 64; other parts of, 
66, 67 ; the senses of, 69, etc. ; the 
limbs of, 70-74; the intestines of, 74, 
etc. ; the lower parts of, 77, etc. ; un 
known use of some of the intestines 
of, 80, 81; born to justice, 117, etc. 

Mercury, the character of, i. 24. 
Mercy, towards men, i. 374 ; works 
of, 382. 

M Tccvaia, i. 416. 

Mind, the, and the seat of, ii. 82-85. 

Millennium, the, ii. 161. 

Minerva and Vulcan, i. 48, 49. 

Minucius Felix, quoted respecting 

Saturn, i. 33 ; eulogized, 293. 
Miracles, the, of Jesus, i. 244, 245, 

246 ; the meaning of, 273-275. 
Miracles, pagan, i. 98, 99. 
Mother of the gods, the, the sacred 

rites of, i. 60. 

NAESEUS, king of Persia, conquered 

by Galerius, ii. 171. 
Nativity, the twofold, of Christ, ii. 

126, 127. 
Nature, the use of the word, by the 

heathen, i. 204, 206, 208, 427, 428. 
Neighbour, who is our? i. 378, etc. 
Nepos, Cornelius, quoted as to the 

character of philosophers, i. 172. 
Nero, the first persecutor, his death, 

ii. 16G. 



INDEX OF SUBJECTS. 



237 



Nicomedia, the church of, destroyed 

by Diocletian and Galerius, ii. 174 ; 

edict of Licinius and Constantine 

for the restoration of the church of, 

207-209. 
Noah, makes and is saved in an ark, 

invents wine, and gets drunk, i. 

124, 125. 

Novatians, the, 288 and note. 
Noxious animals, why permitted in 

the world, ii. 26, 27. 
Numa Pompilius, introduces new gods 

and their worship, i. G5, ii. 103 ; 

the books of, found and burned, i. 

6(3. 

OFFERINGS, such as are acceptable to 
God, i. 419, etc. 

Ops, i. 37. 

Orphans and widows, the duty of pro 
tecting and defending, i. 384. 

Orpheus, his testimony to the unity 
of God, i. 11 ; respecting Saturn, 
38 ; first introduced the rites of 
Father Liber into Greece, 67. 

Osiris, i. 60, 61. 

Ovid, his testimony to the unity of 
the Creator, i. 12 ; quoted as to 
Vesta, 35, 36 ; his Fasti quoted 
respecting the wanderings of Saturn, 
37, 38 ; respecting human sacrifices, 
59 ; respecting Vesta and Priapus, 
61 ; respecting the nursing of Jupi 
ter on Mount Ida, 63, 64 ; on crea 
tion, 88 ; on the creation of man, 
109 ; on the production of all things, 

PANTHEISM, exposed, i. 427-429. 
Paradise, man dm*en from, i. 123. 
Parcffi, the three, i. 116, 117. 
Paschal lamb, the, a type of Christ, 

i. 278. 
Passions, the, ii. 146 ; to be subdued, 

149. 

Patience, i. 401-403. 
Patience of God, the, i. 133, 134. 
Perillus, i. 200. 
Peripatetics, refutation of their views 

respecting the affections, i. 393. 
Persecution, reproved, and its cruelty 

and irrationality exposed, i. 337- 

344, ii. 139. 
Persecutors of the Christians, Roman 

emperors who were, and their pun 
ishment, ii. 164-211. 
Persius quoted, i. 77, 83, 84, 354. 
Peter and Paul put to death at Rome, 

ii. 165, 166. 
Pluedo, i. 199. 
Phalaris, i. 200. 



Philosophers, the testimony of, to the 
unity of God, i. 11, etc. ; their lives 
at variance with their precepts, 172, 
etc. ; the folly of certain, 194 ; the 
precepts of, contributed little to true 
wisdom, 201 ; resemble disinherited 
sons or runaway slaves, 218 ; the 
errors of, 369, etc., 426 ; the variety 
of, and of their opinions, 444, ii. 
114, 119, 122; the foolishness of, 
123. 

Philosophy, the vanity of, i. 140, etc. ; 
the subjects of, 142 ; and the chief 
good, 149, etc. ; moral, 149 ; not 
the mistress of life, 169. 

Phoenix, the, a descriptive and histori 
cal poem on, ii. 214-219. 

Phrygians, the heretics so called, i. 
288, note. 

Piety, false, i. 314 ; true, 325. 

Plato, his testimony to the unity of 
God, i. 13 ; what he thanks God 
for, 187-188 ; the hurtful and vile 
doctrine taught by, of a community 
of goods and wives, 191, 192 ; his 
theory would overthrow all virtue 
and make vice universal, 193 ; ran 
somed from slavery, 199 ; his teach 
ing makes the nearest approach of 
all philosophers to the truth, 121 ; 
affirms the immortality of the sou], 
156, 157. 

Plautus, quoted, i. 379. 

Pleasures of the senses, the, i. 404, etc. 

Poets and philosophers, the testimony 
of, to the one God, i. 11, etc. 

Polites, his question to Apollo respect 
ing the soul, i. 459. 

Pontius Pilate, Jesus brought before, 
i. 255, 256. 

Poverty, i. 286, 287. 

Precept to be backed by example, i. 
267, 270. 

Predictions respecting the birth of 
Jesus, i. 233-238, 241, etc., 249, 
250, 251, 257, 261, etc. 

Priapus, the sacrifice of an ass to, i. 
61 ; his contest with Libei*, 62 ; the 
image of, 82, 83. 

Priesthood, the, of Jesus, i. 241, etc. 

Private judgment, i. 96. 

Prodigies, strange, i. 98. 

Prometheus, the fable of the creation 
of man by, i. 114, 115, ii. 107. 

Propertius, quoted, i. 96. 

Prophet, the false, i. 467, etc. 

Prophets, the, i. 219. 

Protagoras doubts the existence of a 
Deity, ii. 13. 

Providence, divine, i. 5, 6, ii. 13, 14, 
15, 92, 154, 155. 



238 



INDEX OF SUBJECTS. 



Punishment, ii. 36, 37. 

Pythagoras, the testimony of, to the 
unity of God, i. 13 ; pretended to 
have been once Euphorbus, 185 ; 
and Plato, why they did not ap 
proach the Jews in their search for 
wisdom, 213, 214 ; held that the 
soul is immortal, ii. 119, 120. 

Pythagoreans, the, persuade to sui 
cide, i. 182. 

QUINTTLLIAN, his Fanatic quoted, i. 

60, 307. 
Quirinus, or Romulus, deified by the 

Romans^ i. 44. 

RANSOMING captives, an exercise of 
justice, i. 384. 

Reason, and the authority of ances 
tors, i. 95, 96 ; use of, in religion, 
96, 97. 

Religion, meaning of the term, i. 282. 

Religion, and wisdom, i. 3-5, ii. 124 ; 
reason in, i. 96 ; the chief good, 
158 ; errors respecting, 159 ; and 
wisdom cannot be separated, 214, 
215, 217; and superstition, 282, 284; 
false and true, 314, etc. ; and mercy 
towards men, 374 ; Epicurus and 
Cicero quoted respecting, ii. 11, 12; 
the freedom of, 138 ; safety in, at 
the last, 163. 

Repentance, i. 388, 416, ii. 153 ; the 
possibility of, i. 415. 

Resurrection, the, of Christ, i. 261 ; 
a poem on, ii. 223-227. 

Resurrection, the, of men, i. 477 ; the 
second, 482. 

Revenge, i. 400. 

Rites, sacred, of the Roman gods, ii. 
102 ; introduced by Numa and 
Faunus, 103; of the barbarians, 
104 ; and superstition, 105. 

Rome, the ages of, i. 464. 

Romulus deified by the Romans, i. 

SACRED things forbidden to be looked 
at under a penalty, i. 189. 

Sacrifice, the, worthy of God, i. 419, 
ii. 143. 

Sacrifices offered to the gods, human 
and other sorts, i. 58, etc. 

Sacrilege, the punishment of, yet 
committed with impunity by Diony- 
sius of Sicily, and Verres, 85-87 ; 
instances of the miraculous punish 
ment of, 98, 99. 

Sallust, quoted, i. 122. 

Salvation, the hope of, ii. 135. 

Samos, i. 48. 



Sapor, king of Persia, his treatment 
of the captive Emperor Valerian, ii. 
167, 168. 

Saturn, father of Jupiter, i. 33-35, 
36, 37 ; infants immolated to, 59 ; 
happy state of things under the 
reign of, 302, 303; actions of, ii. 101. 

Scriptures, the simplicity of the style 
of, i. 139, 140 ; why despised by the 
wise and learned, 292. 

Seasons, the use and advantages of 
the, ii. 24, etc. 

Seneca, Annceus, his testimony to the 
unity of God, i. 14, 19, 20 ; re 
specting Jupiter, 46; respecting the 
images of the gods, 76 ; respecting 
God and nature, 103 ; the error of, 
in philosophy, 171; quoted as to the 
character of philosophers, 172, 173 ; 
censures Aniceris for paying so 
small a ransom for Plato, 199, 200; 
on the prosperity of the bad and 
the sufferings of the good, 347 ; oil 
living to God, 417 ; on the worship 
of God, 419. 

Senses, the, and the pleasures of, i. 
404, etc., 409, 410, 411; and their 
power, ii. 69 ; the pleasures of, to 
be restrained, 147. 

Severianus, ii. 210. 

Severus, nominated Caesar, ii. 180, 
181 ; defeated by Maxentius, his 
death, 188. 

Sex, cannot be attributed to God, i. 
21; beings distinguished by, cannot 
be gods, 45-47. 

Sextus Claudius, quoted respecting 
Fatua Fauna, i. 66. 

Shield, the sacred, i. 64, 65. 

Sibylline books, the, i. 16. 

Sibyls, the, who ? their number, i. 15, 
16, 17; the testimony of, respecting 
God, 18 ; rebuke the worshipping 
of men as gods, 42 ; the Erythrean, 
quoted, 123 ; the Erythrean, pro 
claims the Son of God, 221; respect 
ing the works of Christ, 245, 246, 
247, 248 ; respecting the portents at 
the death of Christ, 261 ; other 
quotations from, 459, 465, 466, 467, 
469, 471, 477, 478, ii. 44, 45, 96. 

Sight, the pleasures of, i. 405, 406. 

Sign, the heavenly, shown to Censtan- 
tine, ii. 203. 

Sign of the cross, the, its efficacy, i. 

Sins, how they extended to man, ii. 

30. 
Snakes and vipers, why made by God, 

i. 4o3. 
Socrates, and the Academics take 



INDEX OF SUBJECTS. 



239 



away human knowledge, i. 142, ii. I 
1, 2; his wisdom, 189; deserving of I 
censure, 190 ; his contradiction, ii. 
120. 

Solomon and David, prophets, i. 225. 

Son of God, the, produced by the 
Father, and set over His works, i. 
100, 101 ; begotten, 220 ; the name 
of, 222; the Word of God, 224, 225, 
226; and the Father, one God, 284- 
286. 

Soothsaying invented by demons, i. 
130. 

Soul, the, the immortality of, i. 446, 
etc., ii. 156, 157 ; and body, i. 452, 
etc., 454, etc. ; testimonies respect 
ing the eternity of, 458, etc. ; Virgil 
quoted respecting, 472; the torment 
and punishment of, 473, 474 ; the 
seat of opinions of philosophers, ii. 
85; and the mind, 87; given by God, 
89. 

Sound man, the, i. 418. 

Sparti, the, i. 145. 

Spectacles, the polluting influence of, 
i. 406, ii. 148. 

Speech peculiar to man, ii. 10. 

Stage, the, the evil influence of, i. 408. 

Stars, the, regarded as gods, i. 88, 89; 
ordered by God, 89, 90, 91. 

Statues that spoke, i. 98. 

Stoics, the, gave a physical interpre 
tation to the mythology of the 
ancients, i. 35, etc., 36-39 ; reckon 
the elements in the number of the 
gods, 88 ; conclude that the world 
is God, 92; take away all the affec 
tions from man, 390, 391 ; their 
view and that of Epicurus respect 
ing God and nature censured, 427, 
etc. ; their views of God further 
stated, ii. 6, etc. 

Straton, his view of the origin of the 
world, ii. 14. 

Suicide, the Pythagoreans and Stoics 
persuade to, i. 182, etc. 

Superstition and religion, i. 282-284. 

Swine, the flesh of, forbidden, why, i. 
254. 

TACTUS voluptate et libidine, de, i. 

411, etc. 

Tages the soothsayer, ii. 172. 
Tarquitius, quoted respecting JEscula- 

pius, i. 24. 
Taste and smell, the pleasures of the 

senses of, i. 410. 
Teacher, a, and his precepts, i. 267 ; 

the divine, perfect, 268, 269 ; the 

true, must be human and divine, 

270, 271. 



Temple of God, the true, i. 308. 

Terence, quoted, i. 184. 

Terminus, 57, 58. 

Tertullian, characterized, i. 293 ; his 
Apology referred to, 301. 

Testaments, the two, i. 268. 

Thales of Miletus, his testimony to 
the unity of the Creator, i. 13. 

Themiste, i. 199 and note. 

Theophilus of Antioch, quoted, i. 69, 
note. 

Thoth, i. 15. 

Times, the first and the last, of the 
world, i. 460, 462, etc. ; the last, 480, 
ii. 159. 

Titan, i. 40. 

Transmigration of souls, i. 185, 188. 

Trismegistus, quoted, i. 226, 420, 421. 

Truth, the great value of the know 
ledge of, i. 1,2; and eloquence, com 
pared, i. 138-140 ; the philosophers 
ignorant of, saying of Democritus 
respecting, 205; and error, the way 
of, 368; steps to the abode of, ii. 2, 3. 

Tuditanus, i. 194, note. 

UNITY of God, the, asserted, i. 6, 
etc. ; testimonies of poets and philo 
sophers to, 11, etc. ; testimony of 
Hermes Trismegistus to, 14, 15 ; 
testimony of the Sibyls to, 18; tes 
timony of Apollo to, 18, 19. 

Universe, whether it is governed by 
the power of one God, i. 6, etc. ; 
not God, 91. 

Usury, i. 399. 

Utero et conceptione atque sexlbus, de, 
ii. 77. 

VALENTINIANS, the, i. 288 and note. 
Valeria the empress solicited in mar 
riage by Daia, refusing is banished, 

200, 201 ; put to death by order of 

Licinius, 210, 211. 
Valerian, a persecutor, his punishment, 

ii. 167. 
Varro, quoted respecting the Sibyls, i. 

15, 16; respecting human sacrifices, 

59 ; respecting Fatua Fauna, 66 ; 

respecting the length of human life, 

124. 
Venantius, Honorius, a poem of, on 

Easter, ii. 223-227. 
Venus, the lewdness of, i. 48 ; the 

Bald, 56; the Armed, 57. 
Verres, Caius, plunders the gods of 

Sicily, i. 86, 87. . 
Vesta, the chastity of, preserved by 

the braying of an ass, i. 61. 
Vices, the, and the virtues, i. 355-357, 

450-452. 



240 



INDEX OF SUBJECTS. 



Virgil, quoted on the unity of God, i. 
12 ; respecting Saturn, 38, 42 ; re 
specting the concealment of Vir- 
bius, or Hippolytus, 49 ; respecting 
the image of Priapus, 82, 83 ; re 
specting men springing from the 
earth, 116; on superstition, 284; 
as to the exile of Saturn by Jupiter, 
303, 304; of wicked men, 11 ; re 
specting the piety of yEneas, 314, 
315 ; as to war, 317 ; as to the left 
way, 358 ; respecting the ascent 
from Hades, 416 ; as to the soul of 
the world, 428 ; on the soul, and its 
purification, 472, 475, 476. 

Virtue, i. 1GO ; the reward of, 162, 
163; the influence of, 201-203 ; per 
secuted, 319, etc. ; never loses its 
reward, 335 ; the way of, 358; false 
and true, 361; and knowledge, 362; 
and the chief good, 364 ; no true, 
without the acknowledgment of 
God, 372, etc.; the first steps of, 
388 ; never without evil, 439. 

Virtues, the, and the vices, i. 355- 
357 ; neither to be deified, 54, 55, 
56. 

Virtus, offerings to, i. 60. 

Voice, the, ii. 82. 

Vulcan and Minerva, i. 48, 49. 

WARFARE, the Christian, i. 359, 360. 
Ways, the two, of virtue and vice, of 

life and death, i. 355, etc., 358-361; 

of error and of truth, 368, etc., ii. 

143-145. 
Wicked men, the crimes of, i. 310, 311, 

312, 313, 352. 
Widows and orphans, the duty of 



protecting and defending, i. 3S4, 
385. 

Wisdom, and religion, i. 3-5 ; human 
and divine, 81, 82 ; error of Lucre 
tius and Cicero in fixing the origin 
of, 168, etc. ; where to be found, 213; 
and religion cannot be separated, 
214, 217 ; and folly, 330, etc., 336, 
ii. 141 ; false, 112. 

Wise man, the, of Epicurus, i. 201, 
202. 

Wise men, the seven, i. 212. 

Word of God, the, its marvellous effi 
cacy, i. 200. 

WORD OF GOD, the personal, i. 224, 
225 ; called the Locos, 226. 

World, the, made by God, i. 101-110; 
the parts and elements of, 110, etc. ; 
and God, to be distinguished, 427- 
429 ; made for man, 429, 432, 435; 
Epicurus view of its production, 
431 ; the first and last times of, 
460, etc.; the devastation of, 462, 
etc., 465 ; the fortunes of, at the 
last day, 468, 469; the renewed, 
478, etc, ; the end of, at hand, 481 ; 
the origin of, ii. 14, etc.; the ad 
vantages and use of, 24, etc. ; why 
made, 155, 157. 

Worship of God, the true, ii. 143. 

XENOPHANES, his foolish belief about 
the moon, i. 195. 

ZENO, his testimony to the unity of 
God, i. 13 ; repudiates conjecture, 
144 ; the death of, 183 ; places pity 
among the vices, 195. 



THE TESTAMENTS OF 



THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS, 



AND 



FRAGMENTS OF THE 



SECOND AND THIRD CENTURIES. 



EDINBURGH: 
T. & T. CLAEK, 38, GEOEGE STEEET. 

MDCCCLXXI. 



CONTENTS. 



THE TESTAMENTS OF THE TWELVE PATRIAECHS. 

PAGE 

INTRODUCTORY NOTICE, ...... 7 

The Testament of Eeuben concerning Thoughts, . . .13 

The Testament of Simeon concerning Envy, ... 17 

The Testament of Levi concerning the Priesthood and Arrogance, . 21 
The Testament of Judah concerning Fortitude, and Love of Money, 

and Fornication, . . . . . .31 

The Testament of Issachar concerning Simplicity, ... 42 

The Testament of Zebulun concerning Compassion and Mercy, . 45 

The Testament of Dan concerning Anger and Lying, . . 50 

The Testament of Naphtali concerning Natural Goodness, . . 54 

The Testament of Gad concerning Hatred, .... 58 

The Testament of Asher concerning Two Faces of Vice and Virtue, 62 

The Testament of Joseph concerning Sobriety, ... 65 

The Testament of Benjamin concerning a Pure Mind, . . 74 

FRAGMENTS OF THE SECOND AND THIRD CENTURIES. 

INTRODUCTORY NOTICE, ...... 83 

Bardesan, ........ 85 

Melito, 112 

Quadratus, Bishop of Athens, . . 139 

Aristo of Pella, . .... 139 

Claudius Apollinaris, Bishop of Hierapolis, . . . 140 

Hegesippus, ... .... 142 

Pantsenus, ........ 147 

Ehodo, 149 

Maximus, Bishop of Jerusalem, ..... 150 
Poly crates, Bishop of Ephesus, . . .162 



4 . CONTEXTS. 

PAGE 

Theophilns, Bishop of Cacsarca, . . . . .163 

Serapion, Bishop of Antioch, ..... 164 

Apollonius, . . . . . . . .165 

Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, . . . . .107 

Letter of the Churches of Vienna and Lugdunmn to the Churches 

of Asia and Phiygia, ... 1GS 



CLEMENS ALEXANDRINUS ON TPIE SALVATION OF THE 

RICH MAN, . 15 



THE TESTAMENTS OF 

THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 



TRANSLATED BY 



KEV. EOBEET SI1STKEE, M.A. 

THIN. COLL. CAMBRIDGE. 




INTRODUCTORY NOTICE. 

HE apocryphal work known as the Testaments of the 
Twelve Patriarchs professes to be, as its name 
implies, the utterances of the dying patriarchs, the 
sons of Jacob. In these they give some account of 
their lives, embodying particulars not found in the scriptural 
account, and build thereupon various moral precepts for the 
guidance of their descendants. The book partakes also of the 
nature of an Apocalypse : the patriarchs see in the future their 
children doing wickedly, stained with the sins of every nation ; 
and thus they foretell the troubles impending on their race. 
Still at last God will put an end to their woe, and comfort is 
found in the promise of a Messiah. 

There can be little or no doubt that the author was a Jew, 
who, having been converted to Christianity, sought to win over 
his countrymen to the same faith, and thus employed the names 
of the patriarchs as a vehicle for conveying instruction to their 
descendants, as winning by this means for his teaching at 
any rate a prima facie welcome in the eyes of the Jewish 
people. 

It does not seem hard to settle approximately the limits of 
time within which the book was probably written. It cannot 
be placed very late in the second century, seeing that it is 
almost certainly quoted by Tertullian (adv. Marcionem, v. 1 ; 
Scorpiace, 13; cf. Benj. 11), and that Origen (Horn, in Josuam, 
xv. 6 ; cf . Reub. 2, 3) cites the Testaments by name, apparently 
indeed holding it in considerable respect. We can, however, 
approximate much more nearly than this ; for the allusions to 
the destruction of Jerusalem assign to the Testaments a date 
subsequent to that event. This will harmonize perfectly with 
what is the natural inference from several passages, namely, 
that the Gentiles now were a majority in the church, as well 



8 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

as with the presence of the many formulae to express the incar 
nation, and with the apparent collection of the books of the 
New Testament into a volume (Benj. 11). 

On the other hand, important evidence as to the posterior 
limit of the date of writing may be derived from the language 
used with reference to the priesthood. Christ is both High 
Priest and King, and His former office is higher than the latter, 
and to Him the old priesthood must resign its rights. Now 
such language as this would be almost meaningless after 
Hadrian s destruction of Jerusalem consequent on the revolt of 
Bar-Cochba (A.D. 135), after which all power of Judaism for 
acting directly upon Christianity ceased ; and, indeed, on the 
hypothesis of a later date, we should doubtless find allusions to 
the revolt and its suppression. On the above grounds, we infer 
that the writing of the Testaments is to be placed in a period 
ranging from late in the first century to the revolt of Bar- 
Cochba ; closer than this it is perhaps not safe to draw our 
limits. 

The language in which the Testaments were written was no 
doubt the Hellenistic Greek in which we now possess them ; 
presenting as they do none of the peculiar marks which cha 
racterize a version. Whether there were a Hebrew work on 
which the present was modelled a supposition by no means 
improbable in itself we cannot tell, nor is it a matter of much 
importance. The phenomena of the book itself may be cited 
in support of this conclusion : for instance, the use of the word 
SutOtficr) in its ordinary classical meaning of " testament," not 
" covenant" as in Hellenistic Greek, for which former meaning 
there would be no strictly equivalent word in Hebrew; the 
numerous instances of paronomasia, such as aderelvj vovOereiv 
(Benj. 4), a^alpea-^ avaipea-i? (Judah 23), Xfytio?, Xoi/to? (i .), 
ev rafet, a-raK-rov (Napli. 2), rai?, ara^ia (Naph. 3) ; the fre 
quent use of the genitive absolute, and of the verb /ieXXew; 
the use of various expressions pertaining to the Greek philo 
sophy, as itt$ecri? ; al cr^crt?, <ucrt9, reXo?. 

It seems doubtful how far we can attempt with safety to 
determine accurately the religious standpoint of the writer 
beyond the obvious fact of his Jewish origin, though some have 
attempted to show that he was a Nazarene, and others a Jewish 
Christian of Pauline tendencies. We shall therefore content 



INTRODUCTION. 9 

ourselves with referring those who seek for more specific infor 
mation on this point to the works mentioned below. 

To refer now briefly to the external history of our document, 
we meet with nothing definite, after its citation by Origen, for 
many centuries : there are possible allusions in Jerome (adv. 
Vigilantium, c. 6) and in Procopius Gazaeus (Comm. in Genesin, 
c. 38) ; there is also a mention of irarpiAp^ai in the Synopsis 
Sacrce Scriptures found among the writings of Athanasius, as 
well as in the Stichometria of Nicephorus of Constantinople, on 
which it is probably based. Again, in the Canons of the 
Council of Rome (494 A.D.) under Gelasius, and of the Council 
of Bracara (563 A.D.), are possible references, though it is far 
from improbable that in some of the foregoing passages the 
reference may be to a writing rwv rpiwv Ylarpiap^wv alluded 
to in the Apostolic Constitutions (vi. 16), or is even of some 
what loose application. 

After this a blank ensues until the middle of the thirteenth 
century, when it was brought to the knowledge of Western 
Europe by Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, the earliest 
of the great English reformers. We cite here the account of 
the matter given by Matthew Paris, although of course we 
need not accept all the opinions of the old chronicler respecting 
the document in question : " At this same time, Robert, Bishop 
of Lincoln, a man most deeply versed in Latin and Greek, 
accurately translated the Testaments of the XII Patriarchs 
from Greek into Latin. These had been for a long time un 
known and hidden through the jealousy of the Jews, on ac 
count of the prophecies of the Saviour contained in them. The 
Greeks, however, the most unwearied investigators of all writ 
ings, were the first to come to a knowledge of this document, 
and translated it from Hebrew into Greek, and have kept it 
to themselves till our times. And neither in the time of the 
blessed Jerome nor of any other holy interpreter could the 
Christians gain an acquaintance with it, through the malice of 
the ancient Jews. This glorious treatise, then, the aforesaid 
bishop (with the help of Master Nicolaus, a Greek, and a clerk 
of the Abbey of St. Alban s) translated fully and clearly, and 
word for word, from Greek into Latin, to the strengthening of 
the Christian faith, and to the greater confusion of the Jews." 
(Historia Anglorum^ A.D. 1242, p. 801, ed. London 1571.) 



10 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

Again, after speaking of the death of " Master John de 
Basingstokes, Archdeacon of Leicester," a man of very great 
learning in Latin and Greek, he proceeds : " This Master John 
had mentioned to Robert, Bishop of Lincoln, that when he 
was studying at Athens he had seen and heard from learned 
Greek doctors certain things unknown to the Latins. Among 
these he found the Testaments of the XII Patriarchs, that 
is to say, of the sons of Jacob. Now it is plain that these 
really form part of the sacred volume, but have been long 
hidden through the jealousy of the Jews, on account of the 
evident prophecies about Christ which are clearly seen in them. 
Consequently this same bishop sent into Greece ; and when he 
obtained them, he translated them from Greek into Latin, as 
well as certain other things." (Op. cit. A.D. 1252, p. 1112.) 

After this it would seem as though the same fate still pur 
sued our document, for the entire Greek text was not printed 
until the eve of the eighteenth century, when it was published 
for the first time by Grabe, whose edition has been several 
times reprinted. ( Vide infra.) 

Four Greek MSS. of the Testaments are known to exist : 

1. The MS. [Ff. i. 24] in the University Library of Cam 
bridge, to which it was given by Archbishop Parker, whose 
autograph it bears on its first page. It is a quarto on parch 
ment, of 261 leaves (in which the Testaments occupy ff. 203a- 
2616), double columns, 20 lines in a column, handwriting of 
the tenth century. It is furnished with accents and breath 
ings, and a fairly full punctuation. There are very strong 
grounds for believing that it was from this MS. that Grosseteste s 
version was made, exhibiting as it does a very large amount 
of curious verbal coincidence with it. 1 The text of this MS. 
has been that given in the various editions mentioned below. 

2. The MS. [Barocci 133] in the Bodleian Library at Ox 
ford, where it came with the rest of the Barocci collection from 
Venice, and was presented to the University by its Chancellor, 
the Earl of Pembroke. It is a quarto volume ; and except a 
leaf or two of parchment, containing writing of an older period, 
consists of a number of treatises on paper, apparently by several 

1 See, e.g., the curious reading in Levi 18, xal ffrfoei, where the Latin 
MSS. are unanimous in giving stare faciet ; also the- mistake of Istxafi for 
in Issachar 1. 



INTRODUCTION. 11 

different hands, in the writing of the latter part of the four 
teenth century. The Testaments occupy ff. 179a-2036. The 
amount of difference between this MS. and the preceding is 
considerable, and is sufficient to show that it has had no direct 
communication with the latter. A large number of omissions 
occur in it, in some instances amounting to entire chapters. 
The variations of this MS. are given more or less fully in the 
various editions. 

3. A MS. in the Vatican Library at Rome, not yet edited. 
It is said to be a small quarto on paper, written in a very dis 
tinct hand, though unfortunately some leaves are damaged. 
It bears a subscription with the date 1235. I owe my know 
ledge of this MS. to an article by Dr. Vorstman in the Godge- 
leerde Bijdragen for 1866, p. 953 sqq. 

4. A MS. discovered by Tischendorf in the island of Patmos, 
of which no details have yet been published. (See Tischen 
dorf, Aus dem heiligen Lande, p. 341.) 

The entire Greek text of the Testaments was first printed by 
Grabe in his Spidlegium Patrum et Hcereticorum (Oxford 
1698), professedly from the Cambridge MS., but in reality from 
some very inaccurate transcript of it, very possibly from one 
made by Abednego Seller, also in the Cambridge University 
Library [Oo. vi. 91]. Grabe also gave a few of the variations 
of the Oxford MS. Fabricius, in his Codex Pseudepigraphus 
Veteris Testamenti (Hamburgh 1713), gives little more than a 
reprint from Grabe. In the second edition of the latter (1714) 
the true text has been restored in several passages ; but in 
many places Grosseteste s Latin version, which witnessed to 
the true reading, was altered to suit Grabe s incorrect text. 
Fabricius second edition (1722) is perhaps, on the whole, less 
accurate than his first. Since then the text and notes, as 
given in Grabe s second edition, have been reprinted, with but 
few additions, by Gallandi, in his Billiotheca Veterum Patrum, 
vol. i. p. 193 sqq. (Venice 1765), and in Migne s Patrologia 
GrcKca, vol. ii. (Paris 1857). The text of the Cambridge MS., 
with a full statement of the variations of the Oxford MS., has 
recently been edited directly from the MSS. by myself (Cam 
bridge 1869) ; from this edition the present translation has 
been made. 

The MSS. of Grosseteste s Latin version are numerous, there 



12 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

being no less than twelve in Cambridge alone ; and it lias been 
frequently printed, both with the editions of the Greek text and 
independently (e.g. 1483, Hagenau 1532, Paris 1549, and often). 

Besides the Latin version, the Testaments have also been 
translated into several European languages, in all cases appa 
rently from the Latin. The English translation made by 
Arthur Golding was first printed by John Daye in Aldersgate 
in 1581, and has since been frequently reproduced; the British 
Museum, which does not possess all the editions, having no less 
than eleven. 1 

The author of the French translation (" Monsieur Mace, 
Chefcier, cure de Saint Opportune," Paris 1713) appears to 
believe, as the English translator had done, that we have here 
really the last words of the sons of Jacob. A German trans 
lation has also several times been published (e.g. Vienna 1544, 
Strasburgh 1596, Hamburgh 1637), and a German translation 
in MS. is to be found in the British Museum (MSS. Harl. 1252). 
We may further mention a Dutch translation (Antwerp 1570), 
a Danish translation (1601), and a MS. Icelandic translation 
of the eighteenth century in the British Museum (add. MSS. 
11,068). 

For further information on the subject of the Testaments, 
reference may be made, in addition to works already mentioned, 
to the following : Nitzsch, Commentatio Critica de Testamentis 
XII Patriarcharum, libro V. T. Pseudepigraplio (Wittenberg 
1810) ; Ritschl, Die Entsteliung der Altkatholischen Kirclte 
(Bonn 1850; ed. 2, 1857), p. 171 sqq. ; Vorstman, Disqid- 
sitio de Testamentorum XII Patriarcliarum origine et pretio 
(Rotterdam 1857) ; Kayser in Reuss and Cunitz s Beitrdge zu 
den theol. Wissenscliaften for 1851, pp. 107-140 ; Lucke, Ein- 
leitung in die 0/enlarung des Joh. vol. i. p. 334 sqq., ed. 2. 

R. S. 

TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE. 
February 21, 1871. 

1 This English translation having been made from the Latin, the printed 
editions of which swarm with inaccuracies (Grosseteste s Latin version 
itself being a most exact translation), I have been able to make much less 
use of it than I could have desired. It has, however, been compared 
throughout. 




THE TESTAMENTS OF 

THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 



THE TESTAMENT OF REUBEN" CONCERNING 
THOUGHTS. 

| HE copy of the Testament of Reuben, what 
things he charged his sons before he died in 
the hundred and twenty-fifth year of his life. 
When he was sick two years after the death of 
Joseph, his sons and his sons sons were gathered together to 
visit him. And he said to them, My children, I am dying, and 
go the way of my fathers. And when he saw there Judah and 
Gad and Asher, his brethren, he said to them, Raise me up, my 
brethren, that I may tell to my brethren and to my children 
what things I have hidden in my heart, for from henceforth 
my strength faileth me. And he arose and kissed them, and 
said, weeping: Hear, my brethren, give ear to Reuben your 
father, what things I command you. And, behold, I call to 
witness against you this day the God of heaven, that ye walk 
not in the ignorance of youth and fornication wherein I ran 
greedily, and I defiled the bed of Jacob my father. For I tell 
you that He smote me with a sore plague in my loins for seven 
months ; and had not Jacob our father prayed for me to the 
Lord, surely the Lord would have destroyed me. For I was 
thirty years old when I did this evil in the sight of the Lord, 
and for seven months I was sick even unto death; and I 
repented for seven years in the set purpose of my soul before 
the Lord. Wine and strong drink I drank not, and flesh 
entered not into my mouth, and I tasted not pleasant food, 1 
mourning over my sin, for it was great. And it shall not so be 
done in Israel. 

2. And now hear me, my children, what things I saw in my 
repentance concerning the seven spirits of error. Seven spirits 
1 There seems a reminiscence here of the words of Dan. x. 3, LXX. 



14 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

are given against man from Beliar, and they are chief of the 
works of youth; and seven spirits are given to him at his 
creation, that in them should be done every work of man. 1 
The first spirit is of life, with which man s whole being is 
created. The second spirit is of sight, with which ariseth desire. 
The third spirit is of hearing, with which cometh teaching. 
The fourth spirit is of smelling, with which taste is given to draw 
air and breath. The fifth spirit is of speech, with which cometh 
knowledge. The sixth spirit is of taste, with which cometh 
the eating of meats and drinks ; and by them strength is pro 
duced, for in food is the foundation of strength. The seventh 
spirit is of begetting and sexual . intercourse, with which 
through love of pleasure sin also entereth in : wherefore it is 
the last in order of creation, and the first of youth, because it 
is filled with ignorance, which leadeth the young as a blind man 
to a pit, and as cattle to a precipice. 

3. Besides all these, there is an eighth spirit of sleep, with 
which is created entrancement of man s nature, and the image 
of death. With these spirits are mingled the spirits of error. 
The first, the spirit of fornication, dwelleth in the nature and in 
the senses ; the second spirit of insatiateness in the belly ; the 
third spirit of fighting in the liver and the gall. The fourth is 
the spirit of fawning and trickery, that through over-officiousness 
a man may be fair in seeming. The fifth is the spirit of arro 
gance, that a man may be stirred up and become high-minded. 
The sixth is the spirit of lying, in perdition and in jealousy to 
feign words, and to conceal 2 words from kindred and friends. 
The seventh is the spirit of injustice, with which are theft and 
pilferings, that a man may work the desire of his heart ; for 
injustice worketh together with the other spirits by means of 
craft. Besides all these, the spirit of sleep, the eighth spirit, 
is conjoined with error and fantasy. And so perisheth every 
young man, darkening his mind from the truth, and not under 
standing the law of God, nor obeying the admonitions of his 



1 For this use of ^vevf^arx as applied to the senses, we may cite Plutarch 
(De placitis philosopher urn, iv. 21), who, speaking with reference to the Stoic 
philosophy, says, ^ plv opctci; Itrrl nvtvpu, ^ictrtlvov dvo rov 



pU J. 

2 This clause is only found in Cd. Oxon. ; it seems demanded by the fol 



lowing 



TESTAMENT OF REUBEN. 15 

fathers, as befell me also in my youth. And now, children, 
love the truth, and it shall preserve you. I counsel you, hear 
ye Reuben your father. Pay no heed to the sight of a woman, 
nor yet associate privately with a female under the authority 
of a husband, nor meddle with affairs of womankind. For 
had I not seen Bilhah bathing in a covered place, I had not 
fallen into this great iniquity. 1 For my mind, dwelling on 
the woman s nakedness, suffered me not to sleep until I had 
done the abominable deed. For while Jacob our father was 
absent with Isaac his father, when we were in Gader, near 
to Ephratha in Bethlehem, Bilhah was drunk, and lay asleep 
uncovered in her chamber ; and when I went in and beheld 
her nakedness, I wrought that impiety, and leaving her sleep 
ing I departed. And forthwith an angel of God revealed to 
my father Jacob concerning my impiety, and he came and 
mourned over me, and touched her no more.. 

4. Pay no heed, therefore, to the beauty of women, and 
muse not upon their doings ; but walk in singleness of heart in 
the fear of the Lord, and be labouring in works, and roaming in 
study and among your flocks, until the Lord give to you a wife 
whom He will, that ye suffer not as I did. Until my father s 
death I had not boldness to look stedfastly into the face of 
Jacob, or to speak to any of my brethren, because of my 
reproach ; and even until now my conscience amicteth me by 
reason of my sin. And my father comforted me ; for he 
prayed for me unto the Lord, that the anger of the Lord might 
pass away from me, even as the Lord showed me. From hence 
forth, then, I was protected, and I sinned not. Therefore, my 
children, observe all things whatsoever I command you, and ye 
shall not sin. For fornication is the destruction of the soul, 
separating it from God, and bringing it near to idols, because 
it deceiveth the mind and understanding, and bringeth down 
young men into hell before their time. For many hath forni 
cation destroyed ; because, though a man be old or noble, it 
maketh him a reproach and a laughing-stock with Beliar and the 
sons of men. For in that Joseph kept himself from every 
woman, and purged his thoughts from all fornication, he found 
favour before the Lord and men. For the Egyptian woman 

1 Cf . Gen. xxxv. 22. The Gader mentioned below is the Edar of ver. 21, 
the Hebrew y being reproduced, as often, by y. 



1 G THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

did many things unto him, and called for magicians, and offered 
him love potions, and the purpose of his soul admitted no evil 
desire. Therefore the God of my fathers delivered him from 
every visible and hidden death. For if fornication overcome 
not the mind, neither shall Beliar overcome you. 

5. Hurtful are women, my children ; because, since they 
have no power or strength over the man, they act subtilly 
through outward guise how they may draw him to themselves ; 
and whom they cannot overcome by strength, him they over 
come by craft. For moreover the angel of God told me con 
cerning them, and taught me that women are overcome by the 
spirit of fornication more than men, and they devise in their 
heart against men ; and by means of their adornment they 
deceive first their minds, and instil the poison by the glance of 
their eye, and then they take them captive by their doings, for 
a woman cannot overcome a man by force. Flee therefore 
fornication, my children, and command your wives and your 
daughters that they adorn not their heads and their faces ; 
because every woman who acteth deceitfully in these things 
hath been reserved to everlasting punishment. For thus they 
allured the Watchers 1 before the flood; and as these continually 
beheld them, they fell into desire each of the other, and they 
conceived the act in their mind, and changed themselves into 
the shape of men, and appeared to them in their congress with 
their husbands ; and the women, having in their minds desire 
towards their apparitions, gave birth to giants, for the Watchers 
appeared to them as reaching even unto heaven. 

6. Beware, therefore, of fornication ; and if you wish to be 
pure in your mind, guard your senses against every woman. 
And command them likewise not to company with men, that 
they also be pure in their mind. For constant meetings, even 
though the ungodly deed be not wrought, are to them an irre- 

1 This name, occurring once again in the Testaments (Napli. 3), is one 
frequently found applied to the angels as the custodians of the world and 
of men. Thus, in the Chaldee of Daniel (iv. 10, 14, 20 : 13, 17, 23, Eng. 
Ver.), we find the expression -py, which Aquila and Symmachus render 
ypvr/opo$. The corresponding Ethiopia term is of frequent occurrence in 
the book of Enoch, not only of the fallen angels (e.g. x. 9, 15, xvi. 1, etc.), 
but of the good (xii. 2, 3, etc., ed. Dillmann). See also Gesenius, The- 
saurus, s.v. "Vy. 



TESTAMENT OF SIMEON. 17 

mediable disease, and to us an everlasting reproach of Beliar ; 
for fornication hath neither understanding nor godliness in itself, 
and all jealousy dwelleth in the desire thereof. Therefore ye 
will be jealous against the sons of Levi, and will seek to be 
exalted over them ; but ye shall not be able, for God will work 
their avenging, and ye shall die by an evil death. For to Levi 
the Lord gave the sovereignty, and to Judah, and to me also 
with them, 1 and to Dan and Joseph, that we should be for 
rulers. Therefore I command you to hearken to Levi, because 
he shall know the law of the Lord, and shall give ordinances 
for judgment and sacrifice for all Israel until the completion 
of the times of Christ, the High Priest whom the Lord hath 
declared. I adjure you by the God of heaven to work truth 
each one with his neighbour; and draw ye near to Levi in 
humbleness of heart, that ye may receive a blessing from his 
mouth. For he shall bless Israel and Judah, because him hath 
the Lord chosen to rule over all the peoples. And worship ye 
his seed, because he shall die for us in wars visible and invisible, 
and shall be among you an everlasting king. 

7. And Reuben died after that he had given command to his 
sons ; and they placed him in a coffin until they bore him up 
from Egypt, and buried him in Hebron in the double 2 cave 
where his fathers were. 



THE TESTAMENT OF SIMEON CONCEENINa ENVY. 

1. The copy of the words of Simeon, what things he spake 
to his sons before he died, in the hundred and twentieth year 
of his life, in the year in which Joseph died. For they came 
to visit him when he was sick, and he strengthened himself 
and sat up and kissed them, and said to them : 

2. Hear, O my children, hear Simeon your father, what 
things I have in my heart. I was born of Jacob my father, 
his second son ; and my mother Leah called me Simeon, be 
cause the Lord heard her prayer. 3 I became strong exceed- 

1 The reading of Cd. Oxon., ptr CLVTOV, is doubtless to be preferred. 

2 i.e. Machpelah, which in Hebrew means double, and is so rendered by 
the LXX., e.g. Gen. xxiii. 9. 

3 Gen. xxix. 33. 

B 



18 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

ingly ; I shrank from no deed, nor was I afraid of anything. 
For my heart was hard, and my mind was unmoveable, and 
my bowels unfeeling : because valour also has been given from 
the Most High to men in soul and in body. And at that time I 
was jealous of Joseph because our father loved him ;* and I set 
my mind against him to destroy him, because the prince of 
deceit sent forth the spirit of jealousy and blinded my mind, 
that I regarded him not as a brother, and spared not Jacob my 
father. But his God and the God of his fathers sent forth His 
angel, and delivered him out of my hands. For when I went 
into Shechem to bring ointment for the flocks, and Reuben to 
Dotham, where were our necessaries and all our stores, Judah 
our brother sold him to the Ishmaelites. And when Reuben 
came he was grieved, for he wished to have restored him safe 
to his father. But I was wroth against Judah in that he let 
him go away alive, and for five months I continued wrathful 
against him ; but God restrained me, and withheld from me all 
working of my hands, for my right hand was half withered for 
seven days. And I knew, my children, that because of Joseph 
this happened to me, and I repented and wept ; and I besought 
the Lord that He would restore my hand unto me, and that I 
might be kept from all pollution and envy, and from all folly. 
For I knew that I had devised an evil deed before the Lord 
and Jacob my father, on account of Joseph my brother, in 
that I envied him. 

3. And now, children, take heed of the spirit of deceit and 
of envy. For envy ruleth over the whole mind of a man, and 
suffereth him neither to eat, nor to drink, nor to do any good 
thing : it ever suggesteth to him to destroy him that he envieth ; 
and he that is envied ever flourisheth, but he that envieth fades 
away. Two years of days I afflicted my soul with fasting in 
the fear of the Lord, and I learnt that deliverance from envy 
cometh by the fear of God. If a man flee to the Lord, the evil 

1 That Simeon was prominent in the hostility to Joseph, is perhaps 
implied by his detention in Egypt as a surety for the return of the others ; 
and Jewish tradition generally accords with this view. Cf . the Targum of 
the Pseudo- Jonathan on Gen. xxxvii. 19 :" Simeon and Levi, who were 
brothers in counsel, said one to another, Let us kill him." Also this same 
Targum on Gen. xlii. 24 :" And he took from thent Simeon, who had coun 
selled to kill him." Cf. also Bresliitli Ralla, 91. 



TESTAMENT OF SIMEON. 19 

spirit runneth away from him, and his mind becometh easy. 
And henceforward he sympathizeth with him whom he envied, 
and condemneth not those who love him, and so ceaseth from 
his envy. 

4. And my father asked concerning me, because he saw that 
I was sad ; and I said, I am pained in my liver. For I mourned 
more than they all, because I was guilty of the selling of Joseph. 
And when we went down into Egypt, and he bound me as a 
spy, I knew that I was suffering justly, and I grieved not. 
Now Joseph was a good man, and had the Spirit of God within 
him : compassionate and pitiful, he bore not malice against 
me ; nay, he loved me even as the rest of his brothers. Take 
heed, therefore, my children, of all jealousy and envy, and walk 
in singleness of soul and with good heart, keeping in mind the 
brother of your father, that God may give to you also grace and 
glory, and blessing upon your heads, even as ye saw in him. All 
his days he reproached us not concerning this thing, but loved 
us as his own soul, and beyond his own sons ; and he glorified 
us, and gave riches, and cattle, and fruits freely to us all. Do ye 
then also, my beloved children, love each one his brother with a 
good heart, and remove from you the spirit of envy, for this 
maketh savage the soul and destroyeth the body ; it turneth his 
purposes into anger and war, and stirreth up unto blood, and 
leadeth the mind into frenzy, and suffereth not prudence to act 
in men : moreover, it taketh away sleep, and causeth tumult to 
the soul and trembling to the body. For even in sleep some 
malicious jealousy, deluding him, gnaweth at his soul, and with 
wicked spirits disturbeth it, and causeth the body to be troubled, 
and the mind to awake from sleep in confusion ; and as though 
having a wicked and poisonous spirit, so appeareth it to men. 

5. Therefore was Joseph fair in appearance, and goodly to 
look upon, because there dwelt not in him any wickedness ; for 
in trouble of the spirit the face declareth it. And now, my 
children, make your hearts good before the Lord, and your 
ways straight before men, and ye shall find grace before God 
and men. And take heed not to commit fornication, for forni 
cation is mother of all evils, separating from God, and bringing 
near to Beliar. For I have seen it inscribed in the writing of 
Enoch that your sons shall with you be corrupted in fornication, 
and shall do wrong against Levi with the sword. But they 



20 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

shall not prevail against Levi, for he shall wage the war of the 
Lord, and shall conquer all your hosts ; and there shall be a few 
divided in Levi and Judah, and there shall be none 1 of you for 
sovereignty, even as also my father Jacob prophesied in his 
blessings. 

6. Behold, I have foretold you all things, that I may be 
clear from the sin of your souls. Now, if ye remove from you 
your envy, and all your stiffneckedness, as a rose shall my 
bones flourish in Israel, and as a lily my flesh in Jacob, and 
my odour shall be as the odour of Libanus ; and as cedars shall 
holy ones be multiplied from me for ever, and their branches 
shall stretch afar off. Then shall perish the seed of Canaan, 
and a remnant shall not be to Amalek, and all the Cappado- 
cians 2 shall perish, and all the Hittites shall be utterly destroyed. 
Then shall fail the land of Ham, and every people shall perish. 
Then shall all the earth rest from trouble, and all the world 
under heaven from war. Then shall Shem be glorified, because 
the Lord God, the Mighty One of Israel, shall appear upon 
earth as man, and save by Him Adam. 3 Then shall all the 
spirits of deceit be given to be trampled under foot, and men 
shall rule over the wicked spirits. Then will I arise in joy, and 
will bless the Most High because of His marvellous works, 
because God hath taken a body and eaten with men and saved 
men. 

7. And now, my children, obey Levi, and in Judah shall ye 
be redeemed : and be not lifted up against these two tribes, for 
from them shall arise to you the salvation of God. For the 
Lord shall raise up from Levi as it were a Priest, and from 
Judah as it were a King, God and man. So shall He save all 
the Gentiles and the race of Israel. Therefore I command you 
all things, in order that ye also may command your children, 

.that they may observe them throughout their generations. 

8. And Simeon made an end of commanding his sons, and 
-slept with his fathers, being an hundred and twenty years old. 

1 The Cam. MS. seems wrongly to omit the negative here. The reference 
is doubtless to Gen. xlix. 7. 

2 The reference seems to be to the Philistines. Cf. Deut. ii. 23, Amos 
ix. 7, where the LXX. reads Ka^^o*/*. 

3 The construction here is awkward of the particfplcs after fat : possibly 
a clause may have dropped out after 



TESTAMENT OF LEVL 21 

And they laid him In a coffin of Incorruptible wood, to take up 
his bones to Hebron. And they carried them up in a war of 
the Egyptians secretly : for the bones of Joseph the Egyptians 
guarded in the treasure-house of the palace ; for the sorcerers 
told them that at the departure of the bones of Joseph there 
should be throughout the whole of Egypt darkness and gloom, 
and an exceeding great plague to the Egyptians, so that even 
with a lamp a man should not recognise his brother. 

9. And the sons of Simeon bewailed their father according 

O 

to the law of mourning, and they were in Egypt until the day 
of their departure from Egypt by the hand of Moses. 



THE TESTAMENT OF LEVI CONCERNING THE 
PRIESTHOOD AND ARROGANCE. 

1. The copy of the words of Levi, what things he appointed 
to his sons, according to all that they should do, and what 
things should befall them until the day of judgment. He was 
in sound health when he called them to him, for it had been 
shown to him that he should die. And when they were gathered 
together he said to them : 

2. I Levi was conceived in Haran and born there, and after 
that I came with my father to Shechem. And I was young, 
about twenty years of age, when with Simeon I wrought the 
vengeance on Hamor for our sister Dinah. And when we were 
feeding our flocks in Abel-Maul, a spirit of understanding of 
the Lord came upon me, and I saw all men corrupting their 
way, and that unrighteousness had built to itself walls, and 
iniquity sat upon towers ; and I grieved for the race of men, 
and I prayed to the Lord that I might be saved. Then there 
fell upon me a sleep, and I beheld a high mountain : this is the 
mountain of Aspis 1 in Abel-Maul. And behold, the heavens 
were opened, and an angel of God said to me, Levi, enter. 
And I entered from the first heaven into the second, and I saw 
there water hanging between the one and the other. And I 
saw a third heaven far brighter than those two, for there was 
in it a height without bounds. And I said to the angel, Where- 

1 See below, c. 6. 



22 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

fore is this ? And the angel said to me, Marvel not at these, 
for thou shalt see four other heavens brighter than these, and 
without comparison, when thou shalt have ascended thither: 
because thou shalt stand near the Lord, and shalt be His 
minister, and shalt declare His mysteries to men, and shalt 
proclaim concerning Him who shall redeem Israel; 1 and by 
thee and Judah shall the Lord appear among men, saving in 
them every race of men ; and of the portion of the Lord shall 
be thy life, and He shall be thy field and vineyard, fruits, gold, 
silver. 

3. Hear, then, concerning the seven 2 heavens. The lowest 
is for this cause more gloomy, in that it is near all the iniquities 
of men. The second hath fire, snow, ice, ready for the day of 
the ordinance of the Lord, in the righteous judgment of God : 
in it are all the spirits of the retributions for vengeance on the 
wicked. In the third are the hosts of the armies which are 
ordained for the day of judgment, to work vengeance on the 
spirits of deceit and of Beliar. And the heavens up to the 
fourth above these are holy, for in the highest of all dwelleth the 
Great Glory, in the holy of holies, far above all holiness. In 
the heaven next to it are the angels of the presence of the 
Lord, who minister and make propitiation to the Lord for all 
the ignorances of the righteous ; and they offer to the Lord 
a reasonable sweet-smelling savour, and a bloodless offering. 
And in the heaven below this are the angels who bear the 
answers to the angels of the presence of the Lord. And in 
the heaven next to this are thrones, dominions, in which hymns 
are ever offered to God. Therefore, whenever the Lord looketh 
upon us, all of us are shaken ; yea, the heavens, and the earth, 
and the abysses, are shaken at the presence of His majesty ; 
but the sons of men, regarding not these things, sin, and pro 
voke the Most High. 

4. Now, therefore, know that the Lord will execute judg 
ment upon the sons of men ; because when the rocks are rent, 
and the sun quenched, and the waters dried up, and the fire 
trembling, and all creation troubled, and the invisible spirits 
melting away, and the grave spoiled in the suffering of the 

1 Cf. Luke xxiv. 21. 

2 For the Jewish idea of seven heavens, cf. Clemenfrof Alexandria, Strom. 
iv. 7 ; and "Wetstein s note on 2 Cor. xii. 2. 



TESTAMENT OF LEVL 23 

Most High, men unbelieving will abide in their iniquity, there 
fore with punishment shall they be judged. Therefore the 
Most High hath heard thy prayer, to separate thee from iniquity, 
and that thou shouldest become to Him a son, and a servant, 
and a minister of His presence. A shining light of knowledge 
shalt thou shine in Jacob, and as the sun shalt thou be to all 
the seed of Israel. And a blessing shall be given to thee, and 
to all thy seed, until the Lord shall visit all the heathen in the 
tender mercies of His Son, even for ever. Nevertheless thy 
sons shall lay hands upon Him to crucify Him ; and therefore 
have counsel and understanding been given thee, that thou 
mightest instruct thy sons concerning Him, because he that 
blesseth Him shall be blessed, but they that curse Him shall 
perish. 

5. And the angel opened to me the gates of heaven, and 
I saw the holy temple, and the Most High upon a throne of 
glory. And He said to me, Levi, I have given thee the bless 
ings of the priesthood until that I shall come and sojourn in 
the midst of Israel. Then the angel brought me to the earth, 
and gave me a shield and a sword, and said, Work vengeance 
on Shechem because of Dinah, and I will be with thee, because 
the Lord hath sent me. And I destroyed at that time the 
sons of Hamor, as it is written in the heavenly tablets. 1 And 
I said to him, I pray Thee, O Lord, tell me Thy name, that I 
may call upon Thee in a day of tribulation. And He said, I 
am the angel who intercedeth for the race of Israel, that He 
smite them not utterly, because every evil spirit attacketh it. 
And after these things I was as it were awaked, and blessed 
the Most High, and the angel that intercedeth for the race of 
Israel, and for all the righteous. 

1 This document, the idea of which is that of a book containing what 
is fore-ordained in heaven as to the course of the future, is one often ap 
pealed to in Apocalyptic literature, when some oracular declaration of 
weighty import is needed. Thus, in the book of Enoch, the angel Uriel 
tells Enoch that the tablets contain all wisdom, the dying Enoch tells his 
children that the tablets are the source of all understanding, etc. (see, e.g., 
cc. 81. 1 ; 93. 2 ; 106. 19, ed. Dillmaun). In the book of Jubilees, again, 
it is said that inscribed on the tablets are, e.g., the punishment of the 
angels who sinned with mortal women, the plan of the division of weeks, 
the name of Abraham as the friend of God, etc. (cc. 5, 6, 19). See also 
Test. Asher 2, 7. 



24 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

G. And when I came to my father I found a brazen shield l 
(acrTnV) ; wherefore also the name of the mountain is Aspis, 
which is near Gebal, on the right side of Abila ; and I kept 
these words in my heart. I took counsel with my father, and 
with Reuben my brother, that he should bid the sons of Hamor 
that they should be circumcised ; for I was jealous because of 
the abomination which they had wrought in Israel. And I 
slew Shechem at the first, and Simeon slew Hamor. And after 
this our brethren came and smote the city with the edge of 
the sword ; and our father heard it and was wroth, and he was 
grieved in that they had received the circumcision, and after 
that had been put to death, and in his blessings he dealt other 
wise [with us]. For we sinned because we had done this thing 
against his will, and he was sick upon that day. But I knew 
that the sentence of God was for evil upon Shechem ; for they 
sought to do to Sarah as they did to Dinah our sister, and the 
Lord hindered them. And so they persecuted Abraham our 
father when he was a stranger, and they harried his flocks 
when they were multiplied upon him ; and Jeblae his servant, 
born in his house, they shamefully handled. And thus they 
did to all strangers, taking away their wives by force, and the 
men themselves driving into exile. But the wrath of the Lord 
came suddenly upon them to the uttermost. 2 

7. And I said to my father, Be not angry, sir, because by 
thee will the Lord bring to nought the Canaanites, and will 
give their land to thee, and to thy seed after thee. For from 
this day forward shall Shechem be called a city of them that 
are without understanding ; for as a man mocketh at a fool, so 
did we mock them, because they wrought folly in Israel to defile 
our sister. And we took our sister from thence, and departed, 
and came to Bethel. 

8. And there I saw a thing again even as the former, after 
we had passed seventy days. And I saw seven men in white 
raiment saying to me, Arise, put on the robe of the priesthood, 

1 The Latin version gives the other meaning to o-7r/V here, of asp or 
viper. The epithet XOSAXJJJ/, however, renders "shield" much more pro 
bable, as there seems nothing in the context pointing to the " brazen 
serpent." 

2 A quotation from 1 Thess. ii. 16, where the context also is similar 
to the present. 



TESTAMENT OF LEVL 25 

and the crown of righteousness, and the breastplate of under 
standing, and the garment of truth, and the diadem of faith, 
and the tiara of miracle, and the ephod of prophecy. 1 And 
each one of them bearing each of these things put them on me, 
and said, From henceforth become a priest of the Lord, thou 
and thy seed for ever. And the first anointed me with holy 
oil, and gave to me the rod of judgment. The second washed 
me with pure water, and fed me with bread and wine, the most 
holy things, 2 and clad me with a holy and glorious robe. The 
third clothed me with a linen vestment like to an ephod. The 
fourth put round me a girdle like unto purple. The fifth gave 
to me a branch of rich olive. The sixth placed a crown on my 
head. The seventh placed on my head a diadem of priesthood, 
and filled my hands with incense, so that I served as a priest to 
the Lord. And they said to me, Levi, thy seed shall be divided 
into three branches, 3 for a sign of the glory of the Lord who 
is to come ; and he that hath been faithful shall be first : no 
portion shall be greater than his. The second shall be in the 
priesthood. The third a new name shall be called over Him, 
because He shall arise as King from Judah, and shall establish 
a new priesthood, after the fashion of the Gentiles, to all the 
Gentiles. And His appearing shall be unutterable, as of an 
exalted 4 prophet of the seed of Abraham our father. Every 
desirable thing in Israel shall be for thee arid for thy seed, and 
everything fair to look upon shall ye eat, and the table of the 
Lord shall thy seed apportion, and some of them shall be high 
priests, and judges, and scribes ; for by their mouth shall the 
holy place be guarded. And when I awoke, I understood that 

1 "With the whole of this passage we may compare the description of 
the vestments of Aaron. See especially Ex. xxix. 5, 6 (LXX.). The 
TftToi hoy is the translation of pv the plate of gold on the forehead of the 
high priest over the mitre. The Xoy/oi/, or Aoy?oy, is the breastplate, with 
the Urim and Thummim. For the TroB/j/j/??, see Ex. xxviii. 27 (LXX.). 

2 On the possible reference here to the elements of the Eucharist, see 
Grabe s note, Spicilegium, in loc. 

3 Nitzsch (p. 19, n. 37) explains this division into three dpxxi, as re 
ferring to the three orders of the Christian priesthood. This, however, 
seems improbable. Cf. Kayser, p. 119 ; Vorstman, p. 41. It is far more 
probable that the reference is to Moses, Aaron, and Christ. Thus with 
5r;o-TtW? we may compare Num. xii. 7. For this use of dp%yi, cf. Gen. ii. 10. 

4 Or, if we follow the reading of Cd. Oxon., " Prophet of the Most High." 



26 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

this thing was like unto the former. And I hid this also in 
my heart, and told it not to any man upon the earth. 

9. And after two days I and Judah went up to Isaac after l 
our father; and the father of my father blessed me according 
to all the words of the visions which I had seen : and he would 
not come with us to Bethel. And when we came to Bethel, 
my father Jacob saw in a vision concerning me, that I should 
be to them for a priest unto the Lord ; and he rose up early in 
the morning, and paid tithes of all to the Lord through me. 
And we came to Hebron to dwell there, and Isaac called me 
continually to put me in remembrance of the law of the Lord, 
even as the angel of God showed to me. And he taught me 
the law of the priesthood, of sacrifices, whole burnt-offerings, 
first-fruits, free-will offerings, thank-offerings. And each day 
he was instructing me, and was busied for me before the Lord. 
And he said to me, Take heed, my child, of the spirit of forni 
cation ; for this shall continue, and shall by thy seed pollute 
the holy things. Take therefore to thyself, while yet thou art 
young, a wife, not having blemish, nor yet polluted, nor of the 
race of the Philistines or Gentiles. And before entering into 
the holy place, bathe ; 2 and when thou offerest the sacrifice, 
wash ; and again when thou finishest the sacrifice, wash. Of 
twelve trees ever having leaves, offer up [the fruits] to the 
Lord, as also Abraham taught me ; and of every clean beast 
and clean bird offer a sacrifice to the Lord, and of every first 
ling and of wine offer first-fruits ; and every sacrifice thou shalt 
salt with salt. 3 

10. Now, therefore, observe whatsoever I command you, 
children ; for whatsoever things I have heard from my fathers 
I have made known to you. I am clear from all your ungod 
liness and transgression which ye will do in the end of the ages 
against the Saviour of the world, acting ungodly, deceiving 
Israel, and raising up against it great evils from the Lord. 
And ye will deal lawlessly with Israel, so that Jerusalem shall 
not endure your wickedness ; but the veil of the temple shall 

1 Or rather, with Cd. Oxon., "with our father." 

2 We constantly find Peter, in the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions, 
ibmmg with the Agapse the practice of bathing. Cf. e.g. Recog. iv. 3, 

V. OD. 

3 Cf. Horn. xiv. 1. 



TESTAMENT OF LEVI. 27 

be rent, so as not to cover your shame. And ye shall be scat 
tered as captives among the heathen, and shall be for a reproach 
and for a curse, and for a trampling under foot. For the house 
which the Lord shall choose shall be called Jerusalem, as is 
contained in the book of Enoch the righteous. 1 

11. Therefore, when I took a wife I was twenty-eight years 
old, and her name was Melcha. And she conceived and bare a 
son, and she called his name Gersham, for we were sojourners 
in our land : for Gersham is interpreted sojourning. And I 
saw concerning; him that he would not be in the first rank. 

O 

And Kohath was born in my thirty-fifth year, towards the east. 
And I saw in a vision that he was standing on high in the 
midst of all the congregation. Therefore I called his name 
Kohath, which meaneth, beginning of majesty and instruction. 
And thirdly, she bare to me Merari, in the fortieth year of my 
life ; and since his mother bare him with difficulty, she called 
him Merari, which meaneth my bitterness, because he also died. 
And Jochebed was born in my sixty-fourth year, in Egypt, for 
I was renowned then in the midst of my brethren. 

12. And Gersham took a wife, and she bare to him Lomni 
and Semei. And the sons of Kohath, Ambram, Isaar, Chebro, 
and Ozel. And the sons of Merari, Mooli and Homusi. 
And in my ninety-fourth year Ambram took Jochebed my 
daughter to him to wife, for they were born in one day, he and 
my daughter. Eight years old was I when I went into the 
land of Canaan, and eighteen years when I slew Shechem, and 
at nineteen years I became priest, and at twenty-eight years I 
took a wife, and at forty years I went into Egypt. And 
behold, ye are my children, my children even a third generation. 
In my hundred and eighteenth year Joseph died. 

13. And now, my children, I command you that ye fear 
our Lord with your whole heart, and walk in simplicity accord 
ing to all His 2 law. And do ye also teach your children 

1 This document is frequently quoted in the Testaments: cf. Sim. 5; 
Levi 14, 16 ; Judah 18 ; Dan 5 ; Naph. 4 ; Benj. 9. Most of these cita 
tions, however, are not to be found in the work as it has come down to us. 
We must therefore either assume the reference to some other books of 
Enoch not now extant, or rather perhaps that they are general appeals to 
the spirit of the book, regarded as a great fount of prophecy. 

2 Read UVTOV with Cd. Oxon. 



28 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

learning, that they may have understanding in all their life, 
reading unceasingly the law of God ; for every one who shall 
know the law of God shall be honoured, and shall not be a 
stranger wheresoever he goeth. Yea, many friends shall he 
gain more than his forefathers ; and many men shall desire 
to serve him, and to hear the law from his mouth. Work 
righteousness, my children, upon the earth, that ye may find 
[treasure] in the heavens, and sow good things in your souls, 
that ye may find them in your life. For if ye sow evil things, 
ye shall reap all trouble and affliction. Get wisdom in the fear 
of God with diligence ; for though there shall be a leading into 
captivity, and cities be destroyed, and lands and gold and silver 
and every possession shall perish, the wisdom of the wise none 
can take away, save the blindness of ungodliness and the palsy 
of sin : for even among his enemies shall it be to him glorious, 
and in a strange country a home, and in the midst of foes shall 
it be found a friend. If a man teach these things and do them, 
lie shall be enthroned with kings, as was also Joseph our 
brother. 

14. And now, my children, I have learnt from the writing 
of Enoch that at the last ye will deal ungodly, laying your 
hands upon the Lord in all malice ; and your brethren shall be 
ashamed because of you, and to all the Gentiles shall it become 
a mocking. For our father Israel shall be pure from the un 
godliness of the chief priests who shall lay their hands upon 
the Saviour of the world. Pure is the heaven above the earth, 
and ye are the lights of the heaven as the sun and the moon. 
What shall all the Gentiles do if ye be darkened in ungodli-* 
ness? So shall ye bring a curse upon our race for whom 
came the light of the world, which was given among you for 
the lighting up of every man. Him will ye desire to slay, 
teaching commandments contrary to the ordinances of God. 
The offerings of the Lord will ye rob, and from His portion 
will ye steal ; and before ye sacrifice to the Lord, ye will 
take the choicest parts, in despitefulness eating them with 
harlots. Amid excesses 1 will ye teach the commandments of 

1 The word 7rXsoi/j|/, like the English "excess," has not unfrequently 
special reference to sins of sensuality. Of. 1 Cor. v. 11, Eph. iv. 19, v. 3, 
5, Col. iii. 5, 1 Thess. iv. 6, the context in all of -which passages points 
strongly to this conclusion. See Suicer s Thesaurus, s.v. 



TESTAMENT OF LEVI. 29 

the Lord, the women that have husbands will ye pollute, and 
the virgins of Jerusalem will ye defile; and with harlots and 
adulteresses will ye be joined. The daughters of the Gentiles 
will ye take for wives, purifying them with an unlawful 
purification; and your union shall be like unto Sodom and 
Gomorrah in ungodliness. And ye will be puffed up because 
of the priesthood lifting yourselves up against men. And not 
only so. but being puffed up also against the commands of God, 
ye will scoff at the holy things, mocking in despitefulness. 

15. Therefore the temple which the Lord shall choose shall 
be desolate in uncleanness, and ye shall be captives throughout 
all nations, and ye shall be an abomination among them, and 
ye shall receive reproach and everlasting shame from the 
righteous judgment of God; and all who see you shall flee 
from you. And were it not for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob our 
fathers, not one from my seed should be left upon the earth. 

16. And now I have learnt in the book of Enoch that for 
seventy weeks will ye go astray, and will profane the priest 
hood, and pollute the sacrifices, and corrupt the law, and set 
at nought the words of the prophets. In perverseness ye will 
persecute righteous men, and hate the godly; the words of 
the faithful will ye abhor, and the man who reneweth the law 
in the power of the Most High will ye call a deceiver; 1 
and at last, as ye suppose, ye will slay Him, not understanding 
His resurrection, wickedly taking upon your own heads the 
innocent blood. Because of Him shall your holy places be 
desolate, polluted even to the ground, and ye shall have no 
place that is clean ; but ye shall be among the Gentiles a curse 
and a dispersion, until He shall again look upon you, and in 
pity shall take you to Himself through faith and water. 

17. And because ye have heard concerning the seventy 
weeks, hear also concerning the priesthood ; for in each jubilee 
there shall be a priesthood. In the first jubilee, the first who 
is anointed into the priesthood shall be great, and shall speak 
to God as to a Father ; and his priesthood shall be filled with 
the fear of the Lord, and in the day of his gladness shall he 
arise for the salvation of the world. In the second jubilee, he 
that is anointed shall be conceived in the sorrow of beloved 
ones ; and his priesthood shall be honoured, and shall be glorified 

1 Cf. Matt, xxvii. 63, where ix.ein$ o TT^KVOS is said of our Lord. 



30 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

.among all. And the third priest shall be held fast in sorrow ; 
and the fourth shall be in grief, because unrighteousness shall 
be laid upon him exceedingly, and all Israel shall hate each 
one his neighbour. The fifth shall be held fast in darkness, 
likewise also the sixth and the seventh. And in the seventh 
there shall be such pollution as I am not able to express, before 
the Lord and men, for they shall know it who do these things. 
Therefore shall they be in captivity and for a prey, and their 
land and their substance shall be destroyed. And in the fifth 
week they shall return into their desolate country, and shall 
renew the house of the Lord. And in the seventh week shall 
come the priests, worshippers of idols, contentious, lovers of 
money, proud, lawless, lascivious, abusers of children and beasts. 
18. And after their punishment shall have come from the 
Lord, then will the Lord raise up to the priesthood a new 
Priest, to whom all the words of the Lord shall be revealed ; 
and He shall execute a judgment of truth upon the earth, in 
the fulness of days. And His star shall arise in heaven, as a 
king shedding forth the light of knowledge in the sunshine of 
day, and He shall be magnified in the world until His ascension. 
He shall shine forth as the sun in the earth, and shall drive 
away all darkness from the world under heaven, and there 
shall be peace in all the earth. The heavens shall rejoice in 
His days, and the earth shall be glad, and the clouds shall be 
joyful, and the knowledge of the Lord shall be poured forth 
upon the earth, as the water of seas; and the angels of the 
glory of the presence of the Lord shall be glad in Him. The 
heavens shall be opened, and from the temple of glory shall 
the sanctification come upon Him with the Father s voice, as 
from Abraham the father of Isaac. And the glory of the 
Most High shall be uttered over Him, and the spirit of under 
standing and of sanctification shall rest upon Him in the water. 
He shall give the majesty of the Lord to His sons in truth for 
evermore ; and there shall none succeed Him for all genera 
tions, even for ever. 1 And in His priesthood shall all sin come 
to an end, and the lawless shall rest from evil, and the just 
shall rest in Him. And He shall open the gates of paradise, 

1 An additional clause occurs here in Cd. Oxon., which generally has a 
tendency to omit ; the copyist of Cd. Cam. having possibly looked on to 
the same initial words in the next clause : " And in His priesthood shall 



TESTAMENT OF JUDAH. 31 

and shall remove l the threatening sword against Adam ; and 
He shall give to His saints to eat from the tree of life, and the 
spirit of holiness shall be on them. And Beliar shall be bound 
by Him, and He shall give power to His children to tread upon 
the evil spirits. And the Lord shall rejoice in His children, 
and the Lord shall be well pleased in His beloved for ever. 
Then shall Abraham and Isaac and Jacob be joyful, and I 
will be glad, and all the saints shall put on gladness. 

19. And now, my children, ye have heard all ; choose there 
fore for yourselves either the darkness or the light, either the 
law of the Lord or the works of Beliar. And we answered 
our father, saying, Before the Lord will we walk according to 
His law. And our father said, The Lord is witness, and His 
angels are witnesses, and I am witness, and ye are witnesses, 
concerning the word of your mouth. And we said, We are 
witnesses. And thus Levi ceased giving charge to his sons ; 
and he stretched out his feet, and was gathered to his fathers, 
after he had lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. And 
they laid him in a coffin, and afterwards they buried him in 
Hebron, by the side of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. 



THE TESTAMENT OF JUDAH CONCEBNING FOKTI- 
TUDE, AND LOVE OF MONEY, AND FOENICA- 
TION. 

1. The copy of the words of Judah, what things he spake 
to his sons before he died. They gathered themselves together, 
and came to him, and he said to them : I was the fourth son 
born to my father, and my mother called me Judah, saying, I 
give thanks to the Lord, because He hath given to me even a 
fourth son. 2 I was swift and active in my youth, and obedient 

the Gentiles be multiplied in knowledge on the earth, and shall be en 
lightened through the grace of the Lord ; but Israel shall be minished in 
ignorance, and be darkened in sorrow." 

1 The reading of Cd. Oxon. here, dvoarwet, is to be preferred to Cd. 
Cam., irrfoei. Grosseteste s Latin version, in all probability made from the 
latter, has stare faciet. 

2 Gen. xxix. 35. 



32 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

to my father in everything. And I honoured my mother and 
my mother s sister. And it came to pass, when I became a man, 
that my father Jacob prayed over me, saying, Thou shalt be a 
king, and prosperous in all things. 

2. And the Lord showed me favour in all my works both in 
the field and at home. "When I saw that I could run with the 
hind, then I caught it, and prepared meat for my father. I 
seized upon the roes in the chase, and all that was in the plains 
I outran. A wild mare I outran, and I caught it and tamed it ; 
and I slew a lion, and plucked a kid out of its mouth. I took 
a bear by its paw, and rolled it over a cliff ; and if any beast 
turned upon me, I rent it like a dog. I encountered the wild 
boar, and overtaking it in the chase, I tore it. A leopard in 
Hebron leaped upon the dog, and I caught it by the tail, and 
flung it from me, and it was dashed to pieces in the coasts of 
Gaza. A wild ox feeding in the field I seized by the horns ; 
and whirling it round and stunning it, I cast it from me, and 
slew it. 

3. And when the two kings of the Canaanites came in war 
like array against our flocks, and much people with them, I by 
myself rushed upon King Sur and seized him ; arid I beat him 
upon the legs, and dragged him down, and so I slew him. 
And the other king, Taphue, 1 1 slew as he sat upon his horse, 
and so I scattered all the people. Achor the king, a man of 
giant stature, hurling darts before and behind as he sat on 
horseback, I slew ; for I hurled a stone of sixty pounds weight, 
and cast it upon his horse, and killed him. And I fought with 
Achor for two hours, and I killed him ; and I clave his shield 
into two parts, and I chopped off his feet. And as I stripped 
off his breastplate, behold, eight men his companions began to 
fight with me. I wound round therefore my garment in my 
hand; and I slang stones at them, and killed four of them, and 
the rest fled. And Jacob my father slew Beelisa, king of all the 
kings, a giant in strength, twelve cubits high ; and fear fell upon 
them, and they ceased from making war with us. Therefore 

1 In c. 5 we find this name, with a slight variety of spelling, as that of a 
place over which this king may have ruled. It is doubtless equivalent to 
the Hebrew Tappuah, a name of several cities mentioned in the Old Tes 
tament. See Josh. xv. 34, xvi. 8. xvii. 8, 1 Chron. ii. 43. Cf. Thapha, 
Jubilees, 34. 



TESTAMENT OF JUDAIL 33 

my father had no care in the wars when I was among my 
brethren. For he saw in a vision concerning me, that an 
angel of might followed me everywhere, that I should not be 
overcome. 

4. And in the south there befell us a greater war than that 
in Shechem; and I joined in battle array with my brethren, and 
pursued a thousand men, and slew of them two hundred men 
and four kings. And I went up against them upon the wall, 
and two other kings I slew ; and so we freed Hebron, and took 
all the captives of the kings. 

5. On the next day we departed to Areta, 1 a city strong and 
walled and inaccessible, threatening us with death. Therefore 
I and Gad approached on the east side of the city, and Keuben 
and Levi on the west and south. And they that were upon 
the wall, thinking that we were alone, charged down upon us ; 
and so our brethren secretly climbed up the wall on both sides 
by ladders, and entered into the city, while the men knew it 
not. And we took it with the edge of the sword ; and those 
who had taken refuge in the tower, we set fire to the tower, 
and took both it and them. And as we were departing the 
men of Thaffu set upon our captives, and we took it with our 
sons, and fought with them even to Thaffu ; and we slew them, 
and burnt their city, and spoiled all the things that were therein. 

6. And when I was at the waters of Chuzeba, 2 the men of 
Jobel came against us to battle, and we fought with them; 
and their allies from Selom 3 we slew, and we allowed them no 
means of escaping, and of coming against us. And the men 
of Machir 4 came upon us on the fifth day, to carry away our 
captives ; and we attacked them, and overcame them in fierce 
battle : for they were a host and mighty in themselves, and we 
slew them before they had gone up the ascent of the hill. 
And when we came to their city, their women rolled upon us 
stones from the brow of the hill on which the city stood. And 
I and Simeon hid ourselves behind the town, and seized upon 
the heights, and utterly destroyed the whole city. 

1 Cd. Oxon. reads er^az/; but cf. Aresa, Jubilees, 34. 

2 Cf. c. 12 ; also Chezib (Gen. xxxviii. 5), Chozeba (1 Chron. iv. 22), and 
Achzib (Josh. xv. 44; Mic. i. 14), all of which are probably different names, 
for the same place, and all connected with Judah. 

3 Cf. Selo, Jubilees, I.e. 4 Cf. 1 Chron. xi. 36 [?]. 



34 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

7. And the next day it was told us that the cities l of the 
two kings with a great host were coming against us. I there 
fore and Dan feigned ourselves to be Amorites, and went as 
allies into their city. And in the depth of night our brethren 
came, and we opened to them the gates ; and we destroyed all 
the men and their substance, and we took for a prey all that 
was theirs, and their three walls we cast down. And we drew 
near to Thamna, 2 where was all the refuge of the hostile kings. 
Then having received hurt I was wroth, and charged upon 
them to the brow of the hill ; and they slang at me with stones 
and darts ; and had not Dan my brother aided me, they would 
have been able to slay me. We came upon them therefore 
with wrath, and they all fled ; and passing by another way, they 
besought my father, and he made peace with them, and we did 
to them no hurt, but made a truce with them, and restored to 
them all the captives. And I built Thamna, and my father 
built Rhambael. 3 I was twenty years old when this war befell, 
and the Canaanites feared me and my brethren. 

8. Moreover, I had much cattle, and I had for the chief of 
my herdsmen Iran 4 the Adullamite. And when I went to him 
I saw Barsan king of Adullam, and he made us a feast ; and 
he entreated me, and gave me his daughter Bathshua to wife. 
She bare me Er, and Onan, and Shelah ; and the two of them 
the Lord smote that they died childless : for Shelah lived, and 
his children are ye. 

9. Eighteen years we abode at peace, our father and we, with 
his brother Esau, and his sons with us, after that we came 
from Mesopotamia, from Laban. And when eighteen years 
were fulfilled, in the fortieth year of my life, Esau, the brother 
of my father, came upon us with much people and strong ; and 



1 Cd. Oxon. reads r? ^fais fioKrftsav. Cf. Josh. xxiv. 30 ; Judg. ii. 9 ; 
2 Sam. xxiii. 30. Cf. also " Gaiz," Jubilees, lc. 

2 The Timnah of the Old Testament, which name is, however, borne by 
several places. Most probably it is the Timuah near Bethshemesh, on 
the north frontier of Judah, in the neighbourhood, that is, of many of the 
other localities mentioned in the Testaments. This may be the same as the 
Timnathah on the Danite frontier (Josh. xix. 43), and with the Timnathah 
where Samson s wife dwelt (Judg. xiv. 1 sqq.). The geographical position 
of Timnath-serah is against the allusion being to it here. Cf., however, 
Jubilees, c. 34, where Thamnathares is one of the Hostile towns. 

8 Cf. Robel, Jubilees, lc. * Cf. Gen. xxxviii. 1. 



TESTAMENT OF JUDAH. 35 

he fell by the bow of Jacob, and was taken up dead in Mount 
Seir : even as he went above Iramna l was he slain. And we 
pursued after the sons of Esau. Now they had a city with walls 
of iron and gates of brass ; and we could not enter into it, and 
we encamped around, and besieged them. And when they 
opened not to us after twenty days, I set up a ladder in the 
sight of all, and with my shield upon my head I climbed up, 
assailed with stones of three talents weight ; and I climbed up, 
and slew four who were mighty among them. And the next 
day Reuben and Gad entered in and slew sixty others. Then 
they asked from us terms of peace ; and being aware of our 
father s purpose, we received them as tributaries. And they gave 
us two hundred cors of wheat, five hundred baths of oil, fifteen 
hundred measures of wine, until we went down into Egypt. 

10. After these things, my son Er took to wife Tamar, from 
Mesopotamia, a daughter of Aram. 2 Now Er was wicked, and 
he doubted concerning Tamar, because she was not of the land 
of Canaan. And on the third day an angel of the Lord smote 
him in the night, and he had not known her, according to the 
evil craftiness of his mother, for he did not wish to have chil 
dren from her. In the days of the wedding-feast I espoused 
Onan to her ; and he also in wickedness knew her not, though 
he lived with her a year. And when I threatened him, he lay 
with her, Sie^Oeipe Be TO o-irep/ma eVl ryv <yr]v } according to the 
command of his mother, and he also died in his wickedness. 
And I wished to give Shelah also to her, but my wife Bathshua 
suffered it not ; for she bore a spite against Tamar, because she 
was not of the daughters of Canaan, as she herself was. 

11. And I knew that the race of Canaan was wicked, but 
the thoughts of youth blinded my heart. And when I saw her 
pouring out wine, in the drunkenness of wine was I deceived, 
and I fell before her. And while I was away, she went and 
took for Shelah a wife from the land of Canaan. And when I 
knew what she had done, I cursed her in the anguish of my 
soul, and she also died in the wickedness of her sons. 



1 Cd. Oxon. h Avovipxp, probably per incuriam scribze, 

2 This seems to arise from the wish to disconnect Israel as far as pos 
sible from non-Shemite associations. Cf. the Targum of Onkelos on 
Gen. xxxviii. 6. " Judah took a wife for Er, his first-born, a daughter of 
the great Shem, whose name was Tamar." 



36 . THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

12. And after these things, while Tamar was a widow, she 
heard after two years that I was going up to shear my sheep ; 
then she decked herself in bridal array, and sat over against 
the city by the gate. For it is a law of the Amorites, that she 
who is about to marry sit in fornication seven days by the 
gate. I therefore being drunk at the waters of Chozeb, recog 
nised her not by reason of wine ; and her beauty deceived me, 
through the fashion of her adorning. And I turned aside to 
her, and said, I would enter in to thee. And she said to me, 
What wilt thou give me ? And I gave her my staff, and my 
girdle, and my royal crown ; and I lay with her, and she con 
ceived. I then, not knowing what she had done, wished to 
slay her ; but she privily sent my pledges, and put me to shame. 
And when I called her, I heard also the secret words which I 
spoke when lying with her in my drunkenness ; and I could not 
slay her, because it was from the Lord. For I said, Lest haply 
she did it in subtlety, and received the pledge from another 
woman : but I came near her no more till my death, because I 
had done this abomination in all Israel. Moreover, they who 
were in the city said that there was no bride in the city, because 
she came from another place, and sat for awhile in the gate, 
and she thought that no one knew that I had gone in to her. 
And after this we came into Egypt to Joseph, because of the 
famine. Forty and six years old was I, and seventy and three 
years lived I there. 

13. And now, my children, in what things soever I command 
you hearken to your father, and keep all my sayings to perform 
the ordinances of the Lord, and to obey the command of the 
Lord God. And walk not after your lusts, nor in the thoughts 
of your imaginations in the haughtiness of your heart; and 
glory not in the works of the strength of youth, for this also is 
evil in the eyes of the Lord. For since I also gloried that 
in wars the face of no woman of goodly form ever deceived 
me, and upbraided Reuben my brother concerning Bilhah, the 
wife of my father, the spirits of jealousy and of fornication 
arrayed themselves within me, until I fell before Bathshua the 
Canaanite, and Tamar who was espoused to my sons. And I 
said to my father-in-law, I will counsel with my father, and so 
will I take thy daughter. And he showed me a boundless store 
of gold in his daughter s behalf, for he was a king. And he 



TESTAMENT OF JUDAIL 37 

decked her with gold and pearls, and caused her to pour out 
wine for us at the feast in womanly beauty. And the wine led 
my eyes astray, and pleasure blinded my heart ; and I loved her, 
and I fell, and transgressed the commandment of the Lord 
and the commandment of my fathers, and I took her to wife. 
And the Lord rewarded me according to the thought of my 
heart, insomuch that I had no joy in her children. 

14. And now, my children, be not drunk with wine ; for wine 
turneth the mind away from the truth, and kindleth in it the 
passion of lust, and leadeth the eyes into error. For the spirit 
of fornication hath wine as a minister to give pleasures to the 
mind ; for these two take away the power from a man. For if 
a man drink wine to drunkenness, he disturbeth his mind with 
filthy thoughts to fornicaion, and exciteth his body to carnal 
union ; and if the cause of the desire be present, he worketh the 
sin, and is not ashamed. Such is wine, my children ; for he 
who is drunken reverenceth no man. For, lo, it made me also 
to err, so that I was not ashamed of the multitude in the city, 
because before the eyes of all I turned aside unto Tamar, and 
I worked a great sin, and I uncovered the covering of the 
shame of my sons. After that I drank wine I reverenced not 
the commandment of God, and I took a woman of Canaan to 
wife. Wherefore, my children, he who drinketh wine needeth 
discretion ; and herein is discretion in drinking wine, that a 
man should drink as long as he keepeth decency ; but if he go 
beyond this bound, the spirit of deceit attacketh his mind and 
worketh his will ; and it maketh the drunkard to talk filthily, 
and to transgress and not to be ashamed, but even to exult in 
his dishonour, accounting himself to do well. 

15. He that committeth fornication, and 1 uncovereth his 
nakedness, hath become the servant of fornication, and 
escapeth not 2 from the power thereof, even as I also was 
uncovered. For I gave my staff, that is, the stay of my tribe ; 
and my girdle, that is, my power ; and my diadem, that is, the 
glory of my kingdom. Then I repented for these things, and 

1 Cd. Oxon. here reads the additional clause, gvifuovfievos ovx a,i<j6a,ysrot.i 
xcil KOO&OV ovx. alffxv jSToti. Kaj/ ydip rig fioKiiXsuo /i, sropusvay, perhaps 
omitted from Cd. Cant, through the homoeoteleuton. 

2 Cd. Oxon. omits the negative. The fiotafastoi will then be that from 
which the man falls by his sin. 



38 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

took no wine or flesh until my old age, nor did I behold any 
joy. And the angel of God showed me that for ever do 
women bear rule over king and beggar alike ; and from the 
king they take away his glory, and from the valiant man his 
strength, and from the beggar even that little which is the stay 
of his poverty. 

16. Observe therefore, my children, moderation in wine; 
for there are in it four evil spirits of lust, of wrath, of riot, 
of filthy lucre. If ye drink wine in gladness, with shame- 
f acedness, with the fear of God, ye shall live. For if ye drink 
not with shamefacedness, and the fear of God departeth from 
you, then cometh drunkenness, and shamelessness stealeth in. 
But 1 if ye drink not at all, take heed lest ye sin in words of 
outrage, and fighting, and slander, and transgression of the 
commandments of God ; so shall ye perish before your time. 
Moreover, wine revealeth the mysteries of God and men to 
aliens, even as I also revealed the commandments of God and 
the mysteries of Jacob my father to the Canaanitish Bathshua, 
to whom God forbade to declare them. And wine also is a 
cause of war and confusion. 

17. I charge you, therefore, my children, not to love money, 
nor to gaze upon the beauty of women ; because for the sake of 
money and beauty I was led astray to Bathshua the Canaanite. 
For I know that because of these two things shall ye who are 
my race fall into wickedness ; for even wise men among my 
sons shall they mar, and shall cause the kingdom of Judah 
to be diminished, which the Lord gave me because of my 
obedience to my father. For I never disobeyed a word of 
Jacob my father, for all things whatsoever he commanded I 
did. And Abraham, the father of my father, blessed me that 
I should be king in Israel, and Isaac further blessed me in like 
manner. And I know that from me shall the kingdom be 
established. 

18. For I have read also in the books of Enoch the righteous 
what evils ye shall do in the last days. Take heed, therefore, 
my children, of fornication and the love of money ; hearken to 
Judah your father, for these things do withdraw you from the 
law of God, and blind the understanding of the soul, and teach 

1 Cd. Oxon. reads ti tig Agya> ; ^3 ohag KIVSTS, wMch seems much more 
suitable to the context. 



TESTAMENT OF JUDAH. 39 

arrogance, and suffer not a man to have compassion upon his 
neighbour : they rob his soul of all goodness, and bind him in 
toils and troubles, and take away his sleep and devour his 
flesh, and hinder the sacrifices of God ; and he remembereth 
not blessing, and he hearkeneth not to a prophet when he 
speaketh, and is vexed at the word of godliness. For one 
who serveth two passions contrary to the commandments of 
God cannot obey God, because they have blinded his soul, and 
he walketh in the day-time as in the night. 

19. My children, the love of money leadeth to idols ; because, 
when led astray through money, men make mention of those 
who are no gods, and it causeth him who hath it to fall into 
madness. For the sake of money I lost my children, and but 
for the repentance of my flesh, and the humbling of my soul, 
and the prayers of Jacob my father, I should have died child 
less. But the God of my fathers, who is pitiful and merciful, 
pardoned me, because I did it in ignorance. For the prince 
of deceit blinded me, and I was ignorant as a man and as flesh, 
being corrupted in sins ; and I learnt my own weakness while 
thinking myself unconquerable. 

20. 1 Learn therefore, my children, that two spirits wait 
upon man the spirit of truth and the spirit of error ; and in 
the midst is the spirit of the understanding of the mind, to 
which it belongeth to turn whithersoever it will. And the 
works of truth and the works of error are written upon the 
breast of men, and each one of them the Lord knoweth. And 
there is no time at which the works of men can be hid from 
Him; for on the bones of his breast hath he been written 
down before the Lord. And the spirit of truth testifieth all 
things, and accuseth all ; and he who sinneth is burnt up by 
his own heart, and cannot raise his face unto the Judge. 

21. And now, my children, love Levi, that ye may abide, 
and exalt not yourselves against him, lest ye be utterly destroyed. 
For to me the Lord gave the kingdom, and to him the priest 
hood, and He set the kingdom beneath the priesthood. To me 
He gave the things upon the earth ; to him the things in the 
heavens. As the heaven is higher than the earth, so is the 
priesthood of God higher than the kingdom upon the earth. 
For the Lord chose him above thee, to draw near to Him, and 

1 Cd. Oxon. omits the whole of this chapter. 



40 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

to eat of His table and first-fruits, even the choice things of the 
sons of Israel, and thou shalt be to them as a sea. For as, on the 
sea, just and unjust are tossed about, some taken into captivity 
while others are enriched, so also shall every race of men be in 
thee, some are in jeopardy and taken captive, and others shall 
grow rich by means of plunder. For they who rule will be as 
great sea-monsters, swallowing up men like fishes : free sons and 
daughters do they enslave; houses, lands, flocks, money, will they 
plunder ; and with the flesh of many will they wrongfully feed 
the ravens and the cranes ; and they will go on further in evil, 
advancing on still in covetousness. And there shall be false pro 
phets like tempests, and they shall persecute all righteous men. 

22. And the Lord shall bring upon them divisions one 
against another, and there shall be continual wars in Israel ; 
and among men of other race shall my kingdom be brought to 
an end, until the salvation of Israel shall come, until the ap 
pearing of the God of righteousness, that Jacob and all the 
Gentiles may rest in peace. And he shall guard the might of 
my kingdom for ever : for the Lord sware to me with an oath 
that the kingdom should never fail from me, and from my seed 
for all days, even for ever. 

23. Now I have much grief, my children, because of your 
lewdness, and witchcrafts, and idolatries, which ye will work 
against the kingdom, following them that have familiar spirits ; 
ye 1 will make your daughters singing girls and harlots for 
divinations and demons of error, and ye will be mingled in the 
pollutions of the Gentiles: for which things sake the Lord 
shall bring upon you famine and pestilence, death and the 
sword, avenging siege, and dogs for the rending in pieces of 
enemies, and revilings of friends, destruction and blighting of 
eyes, children slaughtered, wives carried off, possessions plun 
dered, temple of God in flames, your land desolated, your own 
selves enslaved among the Gentiles, and they shall make some 
of you eunuchs for their wives ; and whenever ye will return 
to the Lord with humility of heart, repenting and walking in 
all the commandments of God, then will the Lord visit you in 
mercy and in love, bringing you from out of the bondage of 
your enemies. 

1 The reading of Cd. Oxon. is doubtless to be -preferred, which joins 

x.ul "ba.ip.otfi K Aa.vYi; to what precedes. 



TESTAMENT OF JUDAH. 41 

24. And after these things shall a star arise to you from 
Jacob in peace, and a man shall rise from my seed, like the 
Sun of righteousness, walking with the sons of men in meek 
ness and righteousness, and no sin shall be found in Him. And 
the heavens shall be opened above Him, to shed forth the bless 
ing of the Spirit from the Holy Father ; and He shall shed 
forth a spirit of grace upon you, and ye shall be unto Him sons 
in truth, and ye shall walk in His commandments, the first and 
the last. This is the Branch of God Most High, and this the 
well-spring unto life for all flesh. J Then shall the sceptre of 
my kingdom shine forth, and from your root shall arise a stem ; 
and in it shall arise a rod of righteousness to the Gentiles, to 
judge and to save all that call upon the Lord. 

25. And after these things shall Abraham and Isaac and 
Jacob arise unto life, and I and my brethren will be chiefs, 
even your sceptre in Israel : Levi first, I the second, Joseph 
third, Benjamin fourth, Simeon fifth, Issachar sixth, and so 
all in order. And the Lord blessed Levi ; the Angel of the 
Presence, me ; the powers of glory, Simeon ; the heaven, Eeu- 
ben; the earth, Issachar; the sea, Zebulun ; the mountains, 
Joseph ; the tabernacle, Benjamin ; the lights of heaven, Dan ; 
the fatness of earth, Naphtali ; the sun, Gad ; the olive, Asher: 
and there shall be one people of the Lord, and one tongue ; and 
there shall no more be a spirit of deceit of Beliar, for he shall 
be cast into the fire for ever. And they who have died in 
grief shall arise in joy, and they who have lived in poverty for 
the Lord s sake shall be made rich, and they who have been in 
want shall be filled, and they who have been weak shall be made 
strong, and they who have been put to death for the Lord s 
sake shall awake in life. And the harts of Jacob shall run in 
joyfulness, and the eagles of Israel shall fly in gladness ; but the 
ungodly shall lament, and sinners shall weep, and all the people 
shall glorify the Lord for ever. 

26. Observe, therefore, my children, all the law of the Lord, 
for there is hope for all them who follow His way aright. And 
he said to them : I die before your eyes this day, a hundred and 
nineteen years old. Let no one bury me in costly apparel, 
nor tear open my bowels, 2 for this shall they who are kings 

1 Cd. Oxon. omits from here to end of c. 25. 

2 i.e. for the purpose of embalmment. 



42 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

do : and carry me up to Hebron with you. And Judah, when 
he had said these things, fell asleep ; and his sons did according 
to all whatsoever he commanded them, and they buried him in 
Hebron with his fathers. 



THE TESTAMENT OF ISSACHAE CONCERNING 
SIMPLICITY. 

1. The record of the words of Issachar. He called his sons, 
and said to them: Hearken, my children, to Issachar your father; 
give ear to my words, ye who are beloved of the Lord. I was 
the fifth son born to Jacob, even the hire of the mandrakes. 1 
For Reuben 2 brought in mandrakes from the field, and Rachel 
met him and took them. And Reuben wept, and at his voice 
Leah my mother came forth. Now these mandrakes were 
sweet-smelling apples which the land of Aram produced on 
high ground below a ravine of w r ater. And Rachel said, I will 
not give them to thee, for they shall be to me instead of chil 
dren. Now there were two apples; and Leah said, Let it 
suffice thee that thou hast taken the husband of my virginity : 
wilt thou also take these ? And she said, Behold, let Jacob be 
to thee this night instead of the mandrakes of thy son. And 
Leah said to her, Boast not, and vaunt not thyself ; for Jacob 
is mine, and I am the wife of his youth. But Rachel said, 
How so ? for to me was he first espoused, and for my sake he 
served our father fourteen years. What shall I do to thee, be 
cause the craft arid the subtlety of men are increased, and craft 
prospereth upon the earth. And were it not so, thou wouldest 
not now see the face of Jacob. For thou art not his wif e^ but in 
craft wert taken to him in my stead. And my father deceived 
me, and removed me on that night, and suffered me not to see 
him ; for had I been there, it had not happened thus. And 
Rachel said, Take one mandrake, and for the other thou shalt 
hire him from me for one night. And Jacob knew Leah, and 
she conceived and bare me, and on account of the hire (sachar) 
I was called Issachar. 

2. Then appeared to Jacob an angel of the Lord, saying, 

1 See Gen. xxx. 14 sqq. 

2 The Cam. MS. reads Ieex&>/3 by an obvious error. 



TESTAMENT OF ISSACHAE. 43 

Two children shall Rachel bear ; for she hath refused company 
with her husband, and hath chosen continency. And had not 
Leah my mother given up the two apples for the sake of his 
company, she would have borne eight sons ; and for this thing 
she bare six, and Rachel two : because on account of the man 
drakes the Lord visited her. For He knew that for the sake 
of children she wished to company with Jacob, and not for 
lust of pleasure. For she went further, and on the morrow 
too gave up Jacob that she might receive also the other man 
drake. Therefore the Lord hearkened to Rachel because of 
the mandrakes : for though she desired them, she ate them not, 
but brought them to the priest of the Most High who was at 
that time, and offered them up in the house of the Lord. 

3. When, therefore, I grew up, my children, I walked in 
uprightness of heart, and I became a husbandman for my 
parents and my brethren, and I brought in fruits from the field 
according to their season; and my father blessed me, for he 
saw that I walked in simplicity. And I was not a busybody in 
my doings, nor malicious and slanderous against my neighbour. 
I never spoke against any one, nor did I censure the life of any 
man, but walked in the simplicity of my eyes. Therefore when 
I was thirty years old I took to myself a wife, for my labour 
wore away my strength, and I never thought upon pleasure 
with women ; but through my labour my sleep sufficed me, and 
my father always rejoiced in my simplicity. For on whatever 
I laboured I offered first to the Lord, by the hands of the 
priests, of all my produce and all first-fruits ; then to my father, 
and then took for myself. And the Lord increased twofold 
His benefits in my hands ; and Jacob also knew that God aided 
my simplicity, for on every poor man and every one in distress 
I bestowed the good things of the earth in simplicity of heart. 

4. And now hearken to me, my children, and walk in sim 
plicity of heart, for I have seen in it all that is well-pleasing 
to the Lord. The simple coveteth not gold, defraudeth not 
his neighbour, longeth not after manifold dainties, delighteth 
not in varied apparel, doth not picture to himself to live a long 
life, but only waitetli for the will of God, and the spirits of error 
have no power against him. For he cannot allow within his 
mind a thought of female beauty, that he should not pollute 
his mind in corruption. No envy can enter into his thoughts, 



44 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

no jealousy melteth away his soul, nor doth he brood over gain 
with insatiate desire ; for he walketh in uprightness of life, and 
beholdeth all things in simplicity, not admitting in his eyes 
malice from the error of the world, lest he should see the per 
version of any of the commandments of the Lord. 

5. Keep therefore the law of God, my children, and get 
simplicity, and walk in guilelessness, not prying over-curiously 
into the commands of God and the business of your neighbour ; 
but love the Lord and your neighbour, have compassion on the 
poor and weak. Bow down your back unto husbandry, and 
labour in tillage of the ground in all manner of husbandry, 
offering gifts unto the Lord with thanksgiving ; for with the 
first-fruits of the earth did the Lord bless me, even as He 
blessed all the saints from Abel even until now. For no other 
portion is given to thee than of the fatness of the earth, whose 
fruits are raised by toil ; for our father Jacob blessed me with 
blessings of the earth and of first-fruits. And Levi and Judah 
were glorified by the Lord .among the sons of Jacob ; for the 
Lord made choice of them, and to the one He gave the priest 
hood, to the other the kingdom. Them therefore obey, and 
walk in the simplicity of your father; for unto Gad hath it 
been given to destroy the temptations that are coming upon 
Israel. 

6. I know, my children, that in the last times your sons will 
forsake simplicity, and will cleave unto avarice, and leaving 
guilelessness will draw near to malice, and forsaking the com 
mandments of the Lord will cleave unto Beliar, and leaving 
husbandry will follow after their wicked devices, and shall be 
dispersed among the Gentiles, and shall serve their enemies. 
And do you therefore command these things to your children, 
that if they sin they may the more quickly return to the Lord ; 
for He is merciful, and will deliver them even to bring them 
back into their land. 

7. I am a hundred and twenty-two years old, and I know 
not against myself a sin unto death. Except my wife, I have 
not known any woman. I never committed fornication in the 
haughtiness of my eyes ; I drank not wine, to be led astray 
thereby ; I coveted not any desirable thing that was my neigh 
bour s ; guile never entered in my heart ; a lie never passed 
through my lips ; if any man grieved, I wept with him, and I 



TESTAMENT OF ZEBULUN. 45 

shared my bread with the poor. I never ate alone ; I moved 
no landmark ; in all my days I wrought godliness and truth. 
I loved the Lord with all my strength ; likewise also did I love 
every man even as my own children. So ye also do these 
things, my children, and every spirit of Beliar shall flee from 
you, and no deed of malicious men shall rule over you ; and 
every wild beast shall ye subdue, having with yourselves the 
God of heaven walking with men in simplicity of heart. 

And he commanded them that they should carry him up to 
Hebron, and bury him there in the cave with his fathers. And 
he stretched out his feet and died, the fifth son of Jacob, in a 
good old age ; and with every limb sound, and with strength 
unabated, he slept the eternal sleep. 



THE TESTAMENT OF ZEBULUN CONCERNING 
COMPASSION AND MERCY. 

1. The record of Zebulun, which he enjoined his children in 
the hundred 1 and fourteenth year of his life, thirty-two years 
after the death of Joseph. And he said to them : Hearken to 
me, sons of Zebulun, attend to the words of your father. I am 
Zebulun, a good gift 2 to my parents. For when I was born 
our father was increased very exceedingly, both in flocks and 
herds, when with the streaked rods he had his portion. I 
know not, my children, that in all my days I have sinned, save 
only in thought. Nor do I remember that I have done any 
iniquity, except the sin of ignorance which I committed against 
Joseph ; for I screened my brethren, not telling to my father 
what had been done. And I wept sore in secret, for I feared 

1 The Ox. MS. reads 150, and refers the event to two years after Joseph s 
death. The text of the Cam. MS. gives an impossible result here, as it 
would make Zebulun twenty-eight years younger than Joseph, who died at 
the age of 110. According to the Ox. MS., Keuben (cf. c. 1) and Zebulun 
would die in the same year, the former at 125, the latter 150. A compari 
son of Test. Reub. c. 1, shows the most probable solution to be to give the 
numerals, js/B , /3 . 

2 The derivation of Zebulun seems to be from foj, a collateral form of 
*DT, to give. Hence Leah plays on the double meaning of the former verb, 
Gen. xxx. 20. 



46 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

my brethren, because they had all agreed together, that if any 
one should declare the secret, he should be slain with the 
sword. But when they wished to kill him, I adjured them 
much with tears not to be guilty of this iniquity. 

2. For Simeon and Gad came against Joseph to kill him. 
And Joseph fell upon his face, and said unto them, Pity me, 
my brethren, have compassion upon the bowels of Jacob our 
father : lay not upon me your hands to shed innocent blood, 
for I have not sinned against you ; yea, if I have sinned, with 
chastening chastise me, but lay not upon me your hand, for the 
sake of Jacob our father. And as he spoke these words, I 
pitied him and began to weep, and my heart melted within me, 
and all the substance of my bowels was loosened within my 
soul. And Joseph also wept, and I too wept with him ; and 
my heart throbbed fast, and the joints of my body trembled, 
and I was not able to stand. And when he saw me weeping 
with him, and them coming against him to slay him, he fled 
behind me, beseeching them. And Reuben rose and said, My 
brethren, let us not slay him, but let us cast him into one of 
these dry pits which our fathers digged and found no water. 
For for this cause the Lord forbade that water should rise up 
in them, in order that Joseph might be preserved ; and the Lord 
appointed it so, until they sold him to the Ishmaelites. 

3. For in the price of Joseph, my children, I had no share ; 
but Simeon and Gad and six other of our brethren took the 
price of Joseph, and bought sandals 1 for themselves, their wives, 
and their children, saying, We will not eat of it, for it is the 
price of our brother s blood, but will tread it down under foot, 
because he said that he was king over us, and so let us see what 
his dreams mean. Therefore is it written in the writing of the 
law of Enoch, that whosoever will not raise up seed to his 
brother, his sandal shall be unloosed, and they shall spit into 
his face. And the brethren of Joseph wished not that their 
brother should live, and the Lord loosed unto them the sandal 
of Joseph. For when they came into Egypt they were un 
loosed by the servants of Joseph before the gate, and so made 
obeisance to Joseph after the fashion of Pharaoh. And not 
only did they make obeisance to him, but were spit upon also, 
falling down before him forthwith, and so they were put to 

1 Cf. the Targum Ps. Jon. on Gen. xxxvii. 28. 



TESTAMENT OF ZEBULUN. 47 

shame before the Egyptians ; for after this the Egyptians heard 
all the evils which we had done to Joseph. 

4. After these things they brought forth food ; for I through 
two days and two nights tasted nothing, through pity for 
Joseph. And Judah ate not with them, but watched the pit ; 
for he feared lest Simeon and Gad should run back and slay 
him. And when they saw that I also ate not, they set me to 
watch him until he was sold. And he remained in the pit 
three days and three nights, and so was sold famishing. And 
when Reuben heard that while he was away Joseph had been 
sold, he rent his clothes about him, and mourned, saying, How 
shall I look in the face of Jacob my father ? And lie took 
the money, and ran after the merchants, and found no one : 
for they had left the main road, and journeyed hastily through 
rugged byways. 1 And Eeuben ate no food on that day. Dan 
therefore came to him, and said, Weep not, neither grieve ; for 
I have found what we can say to our father Jacob. Let us 
slay a kid of the goats, and dip in it the coat of Joseph ; and 
we will say, Look, if this is the coat of thy son : for they 
stripped off from Joseph the coat of our father when they were 
about to sell him, and put upon him an old garment of a slave. 
Now Simeon had the coat, and would not give it up, wishing 
to rend it with his sword ; for he was angry that Joseph lived, 
and that he had not slain him. Then we all rose up together 
against him, and said, If thou give it not up, we will say that 
thou alone didst this wickedness in Israel ; and so he gave it 
up, and they did even as Dan had said. 

5. And now, my children, I bid you to keep the commands 
of the Lord, and to show mercy upon your neighbour, and to 
have compassion towards all, not towards men only, but also 
towards beasts. For for this thing s sake the Lord blessed me ; 
and when all my brethren were sick I escaped without sickness, 
for the Lord knoweth the purposes of each. Have therefore 
compassion in your hearts, my children, because even as a man 
doeth to his neighbour, even so also will the Lord do to him. 
For the sons of my brethren were sickening, were dying on 
account of Joseph, because they showed not mercy in their 
hearts; but my sons were preserved without sickness, as ye 
know. And when I was in Canaan, by the sea-coast, I caught 

1 Cam. MS. S/fitf TOCf/hOKO h Z YITaV I Ox. MS. 



48 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

spoil of fish for Jacob my father ; and when many were choked 
in the sea, I abode unhurt. 

6. I was the first who made a boat to sail upon the sea, for 
the Lord gave me understanding and wisdom therein ; and I 
let down a rudder behind it, and I stretched a sail on an up 
right mast in the midst ; and sailing therein along the shores, 
I caught fish for the house of my father until we went into 
Egypt; and through compassion, I gave of my fish to every 
stranger. And if any man were a stranger, or sick, or aged, I 
boiled the fish and dressed them well, and offered them to all 
men as every man had need, bringing them together and hav 
ing compassion upon them. Wherefore also the Lord granted 
me to take much fish : for he that imparteth unto his neighbour, 
receiveth manifold more from the Lord. For five years I 
caught fish, and gave thereof to every man whom I saw, and 
brought sufficient for all the house of my father. In the 
summer I caught fish, and in the winter I kept sheep with my 
brethren. 

7. Now I will declare unto you what I did. I saw a man in 
distress and nakedness in winter-time, and had compassion upon 
him, and stole away a garment secretly from my house, and 
gave it to him who was in distress. Do you therefore, my chil 
dren, from that which God bestoweth upon you, show compas 
sion and mercy impartially to all men, and give to every man 
with a good heart. And if ye have not at the time wherewith 
to give to him that asketh you, have compassion for him. in 
bowels of mercy. I know that my hand found not at the time 
wherewith to give to him that asked me, and I walked with 
him weeping for more than seven furlongs, and my bowels 
yearned towards him unto compassion. 

8. Have therefore yourselves also, my children, compassion 
towards every man with mercy, that the Lord also may have 
compassion upon you, and have mercy upon you ; because also 
in the last days God sendeth His compassion on the earth, and 
wheresoever He findeth bowels of mercy, He dwelleth in him. 
For how much compassion a man hath upon his neighbours, so 
much also hath the Lord upon him. For when we went down 
into Egypt, Joseph bore no malice against us, and when he saw 
me he was filled with compassion. And looking towards him r 
do ye also, my children, approve yourselves without malice, and 



TESTAMENT OF ZEBULUN. 49 

love one another ; and reckon not each one the evil of his brother, 
for this breaketh unity, and divideth all kindred, and troubleth 
the soul : for he who beareth malice hath not bowels of mercy. 

9. Mark the waters, that they flow together, and sweep 
along stones, trees, sand ; but if they are divided into many 
streams, the earth sucketh them up, and they become of no 
account. So also shall ye be if ye be divided. Divide not 
yourselves into two heads, for everything which the Lord made 
hath but one head ; He gave two shoulders, hands, feet, but 
all the members are subject unto the one head. I have learnt 
by the writing of my fathers, that in the last days ye will de 
part from the Lord, and be divided in Israel, and ye will follow 
two kings, and will work every abomination, and every idol 
will ye worship, and your enemies shall lead you captive, and 
ye shall dwell among the nations with all infirmities and tribu 
lations and anguish of soul. And after these things ye will 
remember the Lord, and will repent, and He will lead you back ; 
for He is merciful and full of compassion, not imputing evil to 
the sons of men, because they are flesh, and the spirits of error 
deceive them in all their doings. And after these things shall 
the Lord Himself arise to you, 1 the Light of righteousness, 
and healing 2 and compassion shall be upon His wings. He 
shall redeem all captivity of the sons of men from Beliar, and 
every spirit of error shall be trodden down. And He shall 
bring back all the nations to zeal for Him, and ye shall see 
God in the fashion of a man whom the Lord shall choose, 
Jerusalem is His name. And again with the wickedness of 
your words will ye provoke Him to anger, and ye shall be cast 
away, even unto the time of consummation. 

10. And now, my children, grieve not that I am dying, nor 
be troubled in that I am passing away from you. For I shall 
arise once more in the midst of you, as a ruler in the midst of 
his sons ; and I will rejoice in the midst of my tribe, as many 
as have kept the law of the Lord, and the commandments of 
Zebulun their father. But upon the ungodly shall the Lord 
bring everlasting fire, and will destroy them throughout all 
generations. I am hastening away unto my rest, as did my 

1 Mai. iv. 2. 

2 The Ox. MS. reads : " And ye shall return from your land, and ye shall 
see the Lord in Jerusalem for His name s sake." 

D 



50 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

fathers; but do ye fear the Lord your God with all your strength 
all the days of your life. And when he had said these things 
he fell calmly asleep, and his sons laid him in a coffin ; and 
afterwards they carried him up to Hebron, and buried him with 
his fathers. 



THE TESTAMENT OF DAN CONCERNING 
ANGEK AND LYING. 

1. The record of the words of Dan, which he spake to his 
sons in his last days. In the hundred and twenty-fifth year 
of his life he called together his family, and said : Hearken 
to my words, ye sons of Dan ; give heed to the words of the 
mouth of your father. I have proved in my heart, and in my 
whole life, that truth with just dealing is good and well-pleas 
ing to God, and that lying and anger are evil, because they 
teach man all wickedness. I confess this day to you, my chil 
dren, that in my heart I rejoiced concerning the death of 
Joseph, a true and good man ; and I rejoiced at the selling 
of Joseph, because his father loved him more than us. For 
the spirit of jealousy and of vainglory said to me, Thou also art 
his son. And one of the spirits of Beliar wrought with me, 
saying, Take this sword, and with it slay Joseph : so shall thy 
father love tliee when he is slain. This is the spirit of anger 
that counselled me, that even as a leopard devoureth a kid, so 
should I devour Joseph. But the God of Jacob our father 
gave him not over into my hands that I should find him alone, 
nor suffered me to work this iniquity, that two tribes should be 
destroyed in Israel. 

2. And now, my children, I am dying, and I tell you of a 
truth, that unless ye keep yourselves from the spirit of lying 
and of anger, and love truth and long-suffering, ye shall perish. 
There is blindness in anger, my children, and no wrathful man 
regarcleth any person with truth : for though it be a father or 
a mother, he behaveth towards them as enemies; though it 
be a brother, he knoweth him not; though it be a prophet 
of the Lord, he disobeyeth him ; though a righteous man, he 
regardeth him not ; a friend he doth not acknowledge. For 



TESTAMENT OF DAN. 51 

the spirit of anger encompasseth him with the nets of deceit, 
and blindeth his natural eyes, and through lying darkeneth 
his mind, and giveth him a sight of his own making. And 
wherewith encompasseth he his eyes? In hatred of heart; 
and he giveth him a heart of his own against his brother unto 
envy. 

3. My children, mischievous is anger, for it becometh as 
a soul to the soul itself ; and the body of the angry man it 
maketh its own, and over his soul it getteth the mastery, and 
it bestoweth upon the body its own power, that it may work 
all iniquity ; and whenever the soul doeth aught, it justifieth 
what has been done, since it seeth not. Therefore he who is 
wrathful, if he be a mighty man, hath a treble might in his 
anger ; one by the might and aid of his servants, and a second 
by his wrath, whereby he persuadeth and overcometh in injus 
tice : and having a third of the nature of his own body, and 
of his own self working the evil. And though the wrathful 
man be weak, yet hath he a might twofold of that which is 
by nature ; for wrath ever aideth such in mischief. This spirit 
goeth always with lying at the right hand of Satan, that his 
works may be wrought with cruelty and lying. 

4. Understand ye therefore the might of wrath, that it is 
vain. For it first of all stingeth him in word : then by deeds 
it strengthened him who is angry, and with bitter punish 
ments disturbeth his mind, and so stirreth up with great 
wrath his soul. Therefore, when any one speaketh against 
yon, be not 1 ye moved unto anger. And if any man praiseth 
you as good, be not lifted up nor elated, either to the feeling 
or showing of pleasure. 2 For first it pleaseth the hearing, 
and so stirreth up the understanding to understand the 
grounds for anger ; and then, being wrathful, he thinketh that 
he is justly angry. If ye fall into any loss or ruin, my chil 
dren, be not troubled ; for this very spirit maketh men desire 
that which hath perished, in order that they may be inflamed 
by the desire. If ye suffer loss willingly, be not vexed, for 
from vexation he raiseth up wrath with lying. And wrath 
with lying is a twofold mischief; 3 and they speak one with 
another that they may disturb the mind ; and when the soul is 

1 The reading of the Ox. MS., py xm?crt>i-, is to be taken. 

2 Cam. MS. tig t iQiav ; Ox. MS. tis etv$iet, s Read 



52 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

continually disturbed, the Lord departeth from it, and Beliar 
ruleth over it. 

5. Observe, therefore, my children, the commandments of 
the Lord, and keep His law ; and depart from wrath, and hate 
lying, that the Lord may dwell among you, and Beliar may 
flee from you. Speak truth each one with his neighbour, so 
shall ye not fall into lust and confusion ; but ye shall be in 
peace, having the God of peace, so 1 shall no war prevail over 
you. Love the Lord through all your life, and one another 
with a true heart. For I know that in the last days ye will 
depart from the Lord, and will provoke Levi unto anger, and 
will fight against Judah ; but ye shall not prevail against them. 
For an angel of the Lord shall guide them both ; for by them 
shall Israel stand. And whensoever ye depart from the Lord, 
ye will walk in all evil, working the abominations of the Gen 
tiles, going 2 astray with women of them that are ungodly ; 
and the spirits of error shall work in you with all malice. For 
I have read in the book of Enoch the righteous, that your 
prince is Satan, and that all the spirits of fornication and pride 
shall be subject unto Levi, to lay a snare for the sons of Levi, 
to cause them to sin before the Lord. And my sons will draw 
near unto Levi, and sin with them in all things ; and the sons 
of Judah will be covetous, plundering other men s goods like 
lions. Therefore shall ye be led away with them in captivity, 
and there shall ye receive all the plagues of Egypt, and all the 
malice of the Gentiles : and so, when ye return to the Lord, ye 
shall obtain mercy, and He shall bring you into His sanctuary, 
calling peace upon you ; and there shall arise unto you from 
the tribe of Judah and of Levi the salvation of the Lord ; and 
He shall make war against Beliar, and He shall give the ven 
geance of victory to our coasts. And the captivity shall He 
take from Beliar, even the souls of the saints, and shall turn 
disobedient hearts unto the Lord, and shall give to them, who 
call upon Him everlasting peace ; and the saints shall rest in 
Eden, and the righteous shall rejoice in the new Jerusalem, 
which shall be unto the glory of God for ever and ever. And 
no longer shall Jerusalem endure desolation, nor Israel be led 

1 The Ox. MS. omits from here to TO?; Uusai ^uryjp in c. 6. 
2 Ex^o^^6!/T ? may bean error for IX-TTO^^OI/T^, which Grabe wrongly 
gives as the reading of the Cam. MS. 



TESTAMENT OF DAN. 53 

captive; for the Lord shall be in the midst of her, dwelling 
among men, even the Holy One of Israel reigning over them 
in humility and in poverty; and he who believeth on Him 
shall reign in truth in the heavens. 

6. And now, my children, fear the Lord, and take heed unto 
yourselves of Satan and his spirits; and draw near unto God, 
and to the Angel 1 that intercedeth for you, for He is a Mediator 
between God and man for the peace of Israel. He shall stand 
up against the kingdom of the enemy : therefore is the enemy 
eager to destroy all that call upon the Lord. For he knoweth 
that in the day on which Israel shall believe, the kingdom of 
the enemy shall be brought to an end ; and the very angel of 
peace shall strengthen Israel, that it fall not into the extremity 
of evil. And it shall be in the time of the iniquity of Israel, 
that the Lord will depart from them, and will go after him 
that doeth His will, for unto none of His angels shall it be as 
unto him. And His name shall be in every place of Israel, 
and among the Gentiles Saviour. Keep therefore yourselves, 
my children, from every evil work, and cast away wrath and 
all lying, and love truth and long-suffering; and the things 
which ye have heard from your father, do ye also impart to 
your children, that the Father of the Gentiles may receive 
you : for He is true and long-suffering, meek and lowly, and 
teacheth by His works the law of God. Depart, therefore, 
from all unrighteousness, and cleave unto the righteousness of 
the law of the Lord : and bury me near my fathers. 

7. And when he had said these things he kissed them, and 
slept the long sleep. And his sons buried him, and after that 
they carried up his bones to the side of Abraham, and Isaac, 
and Jacob. Nevertheless, as Dan had prophesied unto them 
that they should forget the law of their God, and should be 
alienated from the land of their inheritance, and from the race 
of Israel, and from their kindred, so also it came to pass. 

1 Cf. Dorner, Doctrine of the Person of Christ, Introd. p. 15, Eng. transL 



54 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 



THE TESTAMENT OF NAPHTALI CONCERNING 
NATURAL GOODNESS. 

1. The record of the testament of Naphtali, what things he 
ordained at the time of his death in the hundred and thirty- 
second year of his life. When his sons were gathered together 
in the seventh month, the fourth day of the month, he, being 
yet in good health, made them a feast and good cheer. And 
after he was awake in the morning, he said to them, I am 
dying ; and they believed him not. And he blessed the Lord, 
and affirmed that after yesterday s feast he should die. He 
began then to say to his sons : Hear, my children ; ye sons of 
Naphtali, hear the words of your father. I was born from 
Bilhah ; and because Rachel dealt craftily, and gave Bilhah in 
place of herself to Jacob, and she bore me upon Rachel s lap, 
therefore was I called Naphtali. 1 And Rachel loved me because 
I was born upon her lap ; and when I was of young and ten 
der form, she was wont to kiss me, and say, Would that I 
might see a brother of thine from my own womb, like unto 
thee ! whence also Joseph was like unto me in all things, ac 
cording to the prayers of Rachel. Now my mother was Bilhah, 
daughter of Rotheus the brother of Deborah, Rebecca s nurse, 
and she was born on one and the self-same day with Rachel. 
And Rotheus was of the family of Abraham, a Chaldean, 
fearing God, free-born and noble ; and he was taken captive, 
and was bought by Laban ; and he gave him Aena his hand 
maid to wife, and she bore a daughter, and called her Zilpah, 
after the name of the village in which he had been taken 
captive. And next she bore Bilhah, saying, My daughter is 
eager after what is new, for immediately that she was born she 
was eager for the breast. 

2. And since I was swift on my feet like a deer, my father 
Jacob appointed me for all errands and messages, and as a deer 2 
did he give me his blessing. For as the potter knoweth the 
vessel, what it containeth, and bringeth clay thereto, so also doth 
the Lord make the body in accordance with the spirit, and 
according to the capacity of the body doth He implant the 

1 Gen. xxx. 8. Josephus, Ant. i. 19. 7. 

2 Gen. xlix. 21. 



TESTAMENT OF NAPHTALL 55 

spirit, and the one is not deficient from the other by a third 
part of a hair ; for by weight, and measure, and rule is every 
creature of the Most High. And as the potter knoweth the 
use of each vessel, whereto it sufficeth, so also doth the Lord 
know the body, how far it is capable for goodness, and when it 
beginneth in evil ; for there is no created thing and no thought 
which the Lord knoweth not, for He created every man after 
His own image. As man s strength, so also is his work; and as 
his mind, so also is his work ; and as his purpose, so also is his 
doing ; as his heart, so also is his mouth ; as his eye, so also is 
his sleep ; as his soul, so also is his word, either in the law of 
the Lord or in the law of Beliar. And as there is a division 
between light and darkness, between seeing and hearing, so 
also is there -a division between man and man, and between 
woman and woman ; neither is it to be said that there is any 
superiority in anything, either of the face or of other like 
things. 1 For God made all things good in their order, the five 
senses in the head, and He joineth on the neck to the head, 
the hair also for comeliness, the heart moreover for under 
standing, the belly for the dividing of the stomach, the calamus 2 
for health, the liver for wrath, the gall for bitterness, the spleen 
for laughter, the reins for craftiness, the loins for power, the 
ribs for containing, the back for strength, and so forth. So 
then, my children, be ye orderly unto good things in the fear 
of God, and do nothing disorderly in scorn or out of its due 
season. For if thou bid the eye to hear, it cannot ; so neither 
in darkness can ye do the works of light. 

3. Be ye not therefore eager to corrupt your doings through 
excess, or with empty words to deceive your souls ; because if 
ye keep silence in purity of heart, ye shall be able to hold fast 
the will of God, and to cast away the will of the devil. Sun 
and moon and stars change not their order ; so also ye shall not 
change the law of God in the disorderliness of your doings. 
Nations went astray, and forsook the Lord, and changed their 

1 The Greek text here is obviously corrupt, and doubtless one or two 
words are wanting. The reading of the Cam. MS. is, ovx, &art<j imiiv ort sit 
re? sul ro7s TrpoffUTrot; j ruv opoiuv. In the Ox. MS. the passage is wanting. 

2 It seems very doubtful what is meant by xaXa^oj here. I have 
thought it best, therefore, to leave the matter open. The Ox. MS. punc 



56 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

order, and followed stones and stocks, following after spirits of 
error. But ye shall not be so, my children, recognising in the 
firmament, in the earth, and in the sea, and in all created 
things, the Lord who made them all, that ye become not as 
Sodom, which changed the order of its nature. In like manner 
also the Watchers 1 changed the order of their nature, whom 
also the Lord cursed at the flood, and for their sakes made 
desolate the earth, that it should be uninhabited and fruitless. 

4. These things I say, my children, for I have read in the 
holy writing of Enoch that ye yourselves also will depart 
from the Lord, walking according to all wickedness of the 
Gentiles, and ye will do according to all the iniquity of Sodom. 
And the Lord will bring captivity upon you, and there shall ye 
serve your enemies, and ye shall be covered with all affliction 
and tribulation, until the Lord shall have consumed you all. 
And after that ye shall have been diminished and made few, 
ye will return and acknowledge the Lord your God ; and He 
will bring you back into your own land, according to His abun 
dant mercy. And it shall be, after that they shall come into 
the land of their fathers, they will again forget the Lord and 
deal wickedly ; and the Lord shall scatter them upon the face 
of all the earth, until the compassion of the Lord shall come, a 
Man working righteousness and showing mercy unto all them 
that are afar off, and them that are near. 

5. For in the fortieth year of my life, I saw on the Mount 
of Olives, at the east of Jerusalem, that the sun and the moon 
were standing still. And behold Isaac, the father of my 
father, saith to us, Run and lay hold of them, each one accord 
ing to his strength ; and he that seizeth them, his shall be the 
sun and the moon. And we all of us ran together, and Levi 
laid hold of the sun, and Judah outstripped the others and seized 
the moon, and they were both of them lifted up with them. 
And when Levi became as a sun, a certain young man gave to 
him twelve branches of palm ; and Judah was bright as the 
moon, and under his feet were twelve rays. And Levi and 
Judah ran, and laid hold each of the other. And, lo, a bull 
upon the earth, having two great horns, and an eagle s wings 
upon his back ; and we wished to seize him, but could not. For 
Joseph outstripped us, and took him, and ascended up with 

1 Cf. Reuben 5. 



TESTAMENT OF NAPHTALL 57 

him on high. And I saw, for I was there, and behold a holy 
writing appeared to us, saying : Assyrians, Medes, Persians, 
Elamites, Gelachseans, Chaldeans, Syrians, shall possess in cap 
tivity the twelve tribes of Israel. 

6. And again, after seven months, I saw our father Jacob 
standing by the sea of Jamnia, and we his sons were with him. 
And, behold, there came a ship sailing by, full of dried flesh, 
without sailors or pilot ; and there was written upon the ship, 
Jacob. And our father saith to us, Let us embark on our ship. 
And when we had gone on board, there arose a vehement 
storm, and a tempest of mighty wind ; and our father, who was 
holding the helm, flew away from us. And we, being tost with 
the tempest, were borne along over the sea ; and the ship was 
filled with water and beaten about with a mighty wave, so that 
it was well-nigh broken in pieces. And Joseph fled away upon 
a little boat, and we all were divided upon twelve boards, and 
Levi and Judah were together. We therefore all were scattered 
even unto afar off. Then Levi, girt about with sackcloth, 
prayed for us all unto the Lord. And when the storm ceased, 
immediately the ship reached the land, as though in peace. 
And, lo, Jacob our father came, and we rejoiced with one 
accord. 

7. These two dreams I told to my father ; and he said to me, 
These things must be fulfilled in their season, after that Israel 
hath endured many things. Then my father saith unto me, I 
believe that Joseph liveth, for I see always that the Lord 
numbereth him with you. And he said, weeping, Thou livest, 
Joseph, my child, and I behold thee not, and thou seest not 
Jacob that begat thee. And he caused us also to weep at these 
words of his, and I burned in my heart to declare that he had 
been sold, but I feared my brethren. 

8. Behold, my children, I have shown unto you the last 
times, that all shall come to pass in Israel. Do ye also there 
fore charge your children that they be united to Levi and to 
Judah. For through Judah shall salvation arise unto Israel, 
and in Him shall Jacob be blessed. For through his tribe shall 
God be seen dwelling among men on the earth, to save the 
race of Israel, and He shall gather together the righteous from 
the Gentiles. If ye work that which is good, my children, 
both men and angels will bless you ; and God will be glorified 



58 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

through you among the Gentiles, and the devil will flee from 
you, and the wild beasts will fear you, and the angels will cleave 
to you. For as if a man rear up a child well, he hath a kindly 
remembrance thereof ; so also for a good work there is a good 
remembrance with God. But him who doeth not that which is 
good men and angels shall curse, and God will be dishonoured 
among the heathen through him, and the devil maketh him his 
own as his peculiar instrument, and every wild beast shall 
master him, and the Lord will hate him. For the command 
ments of the law are twofold, and through prudence must they 
be fulfilled. For there is a season for a man to embrace his 
wife, and a season to abstain therefrom for his prayer. So 
then there are two commandments ; and unless they be done in 
due order, they bring about sin. So also is it with the other 
commandments. Be ye therefore wise in God, and prudent, 
understanding the order of the commandments, and the laws 
of every work, that the Lord may love you. 

9. And when he had charged them with many such words, 
he exhorted them that they should remove his bones to Hebron, 
and should bury him with his fathers. And when he had eaten 
and drunken with a merry heart, he covered his face and died. 
And his sons did according to all things whatsoever Naphtali 
their father had charged them. 



THE TESTAMENT OF GAD CONCEBOTNG HATEED. 

1. The record of the testament of Gad, what things he 
spake unto his sons, in the hundred and twenty-seventh year of 
his life, saying: I was the seventh son born to Jacob, and I was 
valiant in keeping the flocks. I guarded at night the flock; 
and whenever the lion came, or wolf, or leopard, or bear, or 
any wild beast against the fold, I pursued it, and with my 
hand seizing its foot, and whirling it round, I stunned it, and 
hurled it over two furlongs, and so killed it. Now Joseph was 
feeding the flock with us for about thirty days, and being tender, 
he fell sick by reason of the heat. And he returned to Hebron 
to his father, who made him lie down near him, because he 
loved him. And Joseph told our father that the sons of Zilpah 



TESTAMENT OF GAD. 59 

and Bilhah were slaying the best of the beasts, 1 and devouring 
them without the knowledge of Judah and Reuben. For he 
saw that I delivered a lamb out of the mouth of the bear, and I 
put the bear to death; and the lamb I slew, being grieved con 
cerning it that it could not live, and we ate it, and he told our 
father. And I was wroth with Joseph for that thing until the 
day that he was sold into Egypt. And the spirit of hatred was 
in me, and I wished not either to see Joseph or to hear him. 
And he rebuked us to our faces for having eaten of the flock 
without Judah. And whatsoever things he told our father, he 
believed him. 

2. I confess now my sin, my children, that oftentimes I 
wished to kill him, because I hated him to the death, and there 
were in no wise in me bowels of mercy towards him. More 
over, I hated him yet more because of his dreams ; and I would 
have devoured him out of the land of the living, even as a calf 
devoureth the grass from the earth. Therefore I and Judah 
sold him to the Ishmaelites for thirty 2 pieces of gold, and ten 
of them we hid, and showed the twenty to our brethren : and 
so through my covetousness I was fully bent on his destruction. 
And the God of my fathers delivered him from my hands, that 
I should not work iniquity in Israel. 

3. And now, my children, hearken to the words of truth to 
work righteousness, and all the law of the Most High, and not 
go astray through the spirit of hatred, for it is evil in all the 
doings of men. Whatsoever a man doeth, that doth the hater 
abhor : though he worketh the law of the Lord, he praiseth him 
not; though he feareth the Lord, and taketh pleasure in that 
which is righteous, he loveth him not : he dispraiseth the truth, 
he envieth him that ordereth his way aright, he delighteth in 
evil-speaking, he loveth arrogance, for hatred hath blinded his 
soul ; even as I also looked on Joseph. 

4. Take heed therefore, my children, of hatred; for it worketh 
iniquity against the Lord Himself : for it will not hear the \vords 
of His commandments concerning the loving of one s neighbour, 
and it sinneth against God. For if a brother stumble, imine- 

1 Cf. Targum Ps. Jon. of Gen. xxxvii. 2. 

2 The narrative of Genesis (xxxvii. 28) gives twenty pieces of silver ; 
the LXX. twenty pieces of gold, with which latter agrees Josephus 7 
et >cr><rt (Antiq. ii. 3. 3). 



60 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

diately it wishetli to proclaim it to all men, and is urgent that he 
should be judged for it, and be punished and slain. And if it 
be a servant, it accuseth him to his master, and with all afflic 
tion it deviseth against him, if it be possible to slay him. For 
hatred worketh in envy, and it ever sickeneth with envy against 
them that prosper in well-doing, when it seeth or heareth 
thereof. For as love would even restore to life the dead, and 
would call back them that are condemned to die, so hatred 
would slay the living, and those that have offended in a small 
matter it would not suffer to live. For the spirit of hatred 
worketh together with Satan through hastiness 1 of spirit in all 
things unto men s death; but the spirit of love worketh to 
gether with the law of God in long-suffering unto the salva 
tion of men. 

5. Hatred is evil, because it continually abideth with lying, 
speaking against the truth ; and it maketh small things to be 
great, and giveth heed to darkness as to light, and calleth the 
sweet bitter, and teacheth slander, and war, and violence, and 
every excess of evil ; and it filleth the heart with devilish poison. 
And these things I say to you from experience, my children, 
that ye may flee hatred, and cleave to the love of the Lord. 
Righteousness casteth out hatred, humility destroycth hatred. 
For he that is just and humble is ashamed to do wrong, being 
reproved not of another, but of his own heart, because the 
Lord vieweth his intent : he speaketh not against any man, be 
cause the fear of the Most High overcometh hatred. For, fear 
ing lest he should offend the Lord, he will not do any wrong 
to any man, no, not even in thought. These things I learnt at 
last, after that I had repented concerning Joseph. For true 
repentance after a godly sort destroyeth unbelief, and driveth 
away the darkness, and enlighteneth the eyes, and giveth know 
ledge to the soul, and guideth the mind to salvation ; and those 
things which it hath not learnt from man, it knoweth through 
repentance. For God brought upon me a disease of the heart ; 
and had not the prayers of Jacob my father intervened, it had 
hardly failed that my spirit had departed. For by what things 
a man transgresseth, by the same also is he punished. For in 
that my heart was set mercilessly against Joseph, in my heart 

1 For this unusual use of faiytij/vxlat, cf. Prov. xiv. 29, LXX., where 
there is the same contrast with 



TESTAMENT OF GAD. Cl 

too I suffered mercilessly, and was judged for eleven months, 
for so long a time as I had been envious against Joseph until 
lie was sold. 

6. And now, my children, love ye each one his brother, and 
put away hatred from your hearts, loving one another in deed, 
and in word, and in thought of the soul. For in the presence 
of our father I spake peaceably with Joseph ; and when I had 
gone out, the spirit of hatred darkened my mind, and moved 
my soul to slay him. 1 Love ye therefore one another from 
your hearts ; and if a man sin against thee, tell him of it 
gently, and drive out the poison of hatred, and foster not guile 
in thy soul. And if he confess and repent, forgive him ; and 
if he deny it, strive not with him, lest he swear, and thou sin 
doubly. Let not a stranger hear your secrets amid your 
striving, lest he hate and become thy enemy, and work great 
sin against thee ; for ofttimes he will talk guilefully 2 with thee, 
or evilly overreach thee, taking his poison from thyself. There 
fore, if he deny it, and is convicted and put to shame, and is 
silenced, do not tempt him on. For he who denieth repenteth, 
so that he no more doeth wrong against thee ; yea also, he will 
honour thee, and fear thee, and be at peace with thee. But if 
he be shameless, and abideth in his wrongdoing, even then for 
give him from the heart, and give the vengeance to God. 

7. If a man prospereth more than you, be not grieved, but 
pray also for him, that he may have perfect prosperity. For 
perchance it is expedient for you thus ; and if he be further 
exalted, be not envious, remembering that all flesh shall die : 

7 / O 

and offer praise to God, who giveth things good and profitable 
to all men. Seek out the judgments of the Lord, and so 
shall thy mind rest and be at peace. And though a man 
become rich by evil means, even as Esau the brother of my 
father, be not jealous ; but \vait for the end of the Lord. For 
either He taketh His benefits away from the wicked, or leaveth 
them still to the repentant, or to the unrepentant reserveth 
punishment for ever. For the poor man who is free from 
envy, giving thanks to the Lord in all things, is rich among all 
men, because he hath not evil jealousy of men. Put away, 

1 The Ox. MS. omits from here to the last clause of c. 7. 

2 For lohaQavY.aoii, the reading of the Cam. MS. here, Grabe conjectured 

i-/. Probably BoAo^^; is to be preferred. 



62 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

therefore, hatred from your souls, and love one another with 
uprightness of heart. 

8. And do ye also tell these things to your children, that 
they honour Judah and Levi, for from them shall the Lord 
raise up a Saviour to Israel. For I know that at the last your 
children shall depart from them, and shall walk in all wicked 
ness, and mischief, and corruption before the Lord. And 
when he had rested for a little while, he said again to them, 
My children, obey your father, and bury me near to my fathers. 
And he drew up his feet, and fell asleep in peace. And after 
five years they carried him up, and laid him in Hebron with his 
fathers. 



THE TESTAMENT OF ASHER CONCERNING TWO 
FACES OF VICE AND VIRTUE. 

1. The record of the testament of Asher, what things he 
spake to his sons in the hundred and twentieth year of his life. 
While he was still in health, he said to them : Hearken, ye chil 
dren of Asher, to your father, and I will declare to you all that 
is right in the sight of God. Two ways hath God given to the 
sons of men, and two minds, arid two doings, and two places, 
and two ends. Therefore all things are by twos, one corre 
sponding to the other. There are two ways of good and evil, 
with which are the two minds in our breasts distinguishing 
them. Therefore if the soul take pleasure in good, all its 
actions are in righteousness ; and though it sin, it straightway 
repenteth. For, having his mind set upon righteousness, and 
casting away maliciousness, he straightway overthroweth the 
evil, and uprooteth the sin. But if his mind turn aside in evil, 
all his doings are in maliciousness, and he driveth away the 
good, and taketh unto him the evil, and is ruled by Beliar ; and 
even though he work what is good, he perverteth it in evil. 
For whenever he beginneth as though to do good, he bringeth 
the end of his doing to work evil, seeing that the treasure of 
the devil is filled with the poison of an evil spirit. 

2. There is then, he saith, a soul which speaketh the good 
for the sake of the evil, and the end of the doing leadeth to 



TESTAMENT OF ASHER. 63 

mischief. There is a man who showeth no compassion upon 
him who serveth his turn in evil; and this thing hath two aspects, 
but the whole is evil. And there is a man that loveth him that 
worketh evil ; he likewise dwelleth in evil, because he chooseth 
even to die in an evil cause for his sake : and concerning this 
it is clear that it hath two aspects, but the whole is an evil 
work. And though there is love, it is but wickedness conceal 
ing the evil, even as it beareth a name that seemeth good, but 
the end of the doing tendeth unto evil. Another stealeth, 
worketh unjustly, plundereth, defraudeth, and withal pitieth 
the poor: this, too, hath a twofold aspect, but the whole is evil. 
Defrauding his neighbour he provoketh God, and sweareth 
falsely against the Most High, and yet pitieth the poor : the 
Lord who commandeth the law he setteth at nought and pro 
voketh, and refresheth the poor; he defile th the soul, and 
maketh gay the body ; he killeth many, and he pitieth a few : 
and this, too, hath a twofold aspect. Another committeth adul 
tery and fornication, and abstaineth from meats; yet in his 
fasting he worketh evil, and by his power and his wealth per- 
verteth many, and out of his excessive wickedness worketh 
the commandments : this, too, hath a twofold aspect, but the 
whole is evil. Such men are as swine or hares; 1 for they are 
half clean, but in very deed are unclean. For God in the 
heavenly 2 tablets hath thus declared. 

3. Do not ye therefore, my children, wear two faces like 
unto them, of goodness and of wickedness; but cleave unto 
goodness only, for in goodness doth God rest, and men desire 
it. From wickedness flee away, destroying the devil by your 
good works ; for they that are double-faced serve not God, but 
their own lusts, so that they may please Beliar and men like 
unto themselves. 

4. For good men, even they that are single of face, though 
they be thought by them that are double-faced to err, are just 
before God. For many in killing the wicked do two works, 
an evil by a good ; but the whole is good, because he hath up 
rooted and destroyed that which is evil. One man hateth him 
that showeth mercy, and doeth wrong to the adulterer and the 
thief : this, too, is double-faced, but the whole work is good, be 
cause he followeth the Lord s example, in that he receiveth not 

1 Cf. Lev. xi. 5, 7. 2 Of. Levi 5. 



C4 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

that winch seemeth good with that which is really bad. Another 
desireth not to see good days with them that riot, lest he defile 
his mouth and pollute his soul : this, too, is double-faced, but 
the whole is good, for such men are like to stags and to hinds, 
because in a wild condition they seem to be unclean, but they 
are altogether clean ; because they walk in a zeal for God, 
and abstain from what God also hateth and forbiddeth by His 
commandments, and they ward off the evil from the good. 

5. Ye see therefore, my children, how that there are two in 
all things, one against the other, and the one is hidden by the 
other. 1 Death succeedeth to life, dishonour to glory, night to 
day, and darkness to light ; and all things are under the day, 
and just things under life: wherefore also everlasting life 
awaiteth death. Nor may it be said that truth is a lie, nor 
right wrong ; for all truth is under the light, even as all things 
are under God. All these things I proved in my life, and I 
wandered not from the truth of the Lord, and I searched out 
the commandments of the Most High, walking with single 
ness of face according to all my strength unto that which is 
good. 

6. Take heed therefore ye also, my children, to the com 
mandments of the Lord, following the truth with singleness 
of face, for they that are double-faced receive twofold punish 
ment. Hate the spirits of error, which strive against men. 
Keep the law of the Lord, and give not heed unto evil as unto 
good ; but look unto the thing that is good indeed, and keep it 
in all commandments of the Lord, having your conversation 
unto Him, and resting in Him : for the ends at which men aim 
do show their righteousness, and know the angels of the Lord 
from the angels of Satan. For if the soul depart troubled, it 
is tormented by the evil spirit which also it served in lusts 
and evil works ; but if quietly and with joy it hath known the 
angel of peace, it shall comfort him in life. 

7. Become not, my children, as Sodom, which knew not the 
angels of the Lord, and perished for ever. For I know that 
ye will sin, and ye shall be delivered into the hands of your 
enemies, and your land shall be made desolate, and ye shall 
be scattered unto the four corners of the earth. And ye shall 

The Ox. us. adds, In ?y si/Qpoovvp q yMn, sy ra yihart TO KM 605, ev T$ 



TESTAMENT OF JOSEPH. 65 

be set at nought in the Dispersion as useless water, until the 
Most High shall visit the earth ; and He shall come as man, 
with men eating and drinking, and in peace breaking the head 
of the dragon through water. He shall save Israel and all 
nations, God speaking in the person of man. Therefore tell 
ye these things to your children, that they disobey Him not. 
For I have read in the Heavenly Tablets that in very deed ye 
will disobey Him, and act ungodly against Him, not giving 
heed to the law of God, but to the commandments of men. 
Therefore shall ye be scattered as Gad and as Dan my 
brethren, who shall know not their own lands, tribe, and 
tongue. But the Lord will gather you together in faith 
through the hope of His tender mercy, for the sake of 
Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. 

8. And when he had said these things unto them, he 
charged them, saying: Bury me in Hebron. And he fell 
into a peaceful sleep, and died ; and after this his sons did as 
he had charged them, and they carried him up and buried him 
with his fathers. 



THE TESTAMENT OF JOSEPH CONCEBXING 
SOBKIETY. 

1. The record of the testament of Joseph. When he was 
about to die he called his sons and his brethren together, and 
said to them : My children and brethren, hearken to Joseph 
the beloved of Israel ; give ear, my sons, unto your father. I 
have seen in my life envy and death, and I wandered not in 
the truth of the Lord. These my brethren hated me, and 
the Lord loved me : they wished to slay me, and the God of 
my fathers guarded me : they let me down into a pit, and the 
Most High brought me up again : I was sold for a slave, and 
the Lord made me free : I was taken into captivity, and His 
strong hand succoured me: I was kept in hunger, and the 
Lord Himself nourished me : I was alone, and God comforted 
me : I was sick, and the Most High visited me : I was in 
prison, and the Saviour showed favour unto me; in bonds, 
and He released me; amid slanders, and He pleaded my 

E 



66 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

Cause ; amid bitter words of the Egyptians, and He rescued 
me ; amid envy and guile, and He exalted me. 

2. And thus Potiphar 1 the chief cook 2 of Pharaoh entrusted 
to me his house, and I struggled against a shameless woman, 
urging me to transgress with her ; but the God of Israel my 
father guarded me from the burning flame. I was cast into 
prison, I was beaten, I was mocked ; and the Lord granted me 
to find pity in the sight of the keeper of the prison. For He 
will in no wise forsake them that fear Him, neither in darkness, 
nor in bonds, nor in tribulations, nor in necessities. For not as 
man is God ashamed, nor as the son of man is He afraid, nor 
as one that is earth-born is He weak, or can He be thrust aside ; 
but in all places is He at hand, and in divers ways doth He 
comfort, departing for a little to try the purpose of the soul. 
In ten temptations He showed me approved, and in all of 
them I endured; for endurance is a mighty charm, and 
patience giveth many good things. 

3. How often did the Egyptian threaten me with death ! 
How often did she give me over to punishment, and then call 
me back, and threaten me when I would not company with 
her ! And she said to me, Thou shalt be lord of me, and all 
that is mine, if thou wilt give thyself unto me, and thou shalt 
be as our master. Therefore I remembered the words of the 
fathers of my father Jacob, and I entered into my chamber 
and prayed unto the Lord ; and I fasted in those seven years, 
and I appeared to my master as one living delicately, for they 
that fast for God s sake receive beauty of face. And if one 
gave me wine, I drank it not ; and I fasted for three days, and 
took my food and gave it to the poor and sick. And I sought 
the Lord early, and wept for the Egyptian woman of Memphis, 
for very unceasingly did she trouble me, and at night she 
came to me under the pretence of visiting me ; and at first, 
because she had no male child, she feigned to count me as a 



1 The Greek spelling here is Quripdcp, in the later chapters HereQpt s 
(nevTstppfc, Cd. Oxon.)- The former is more like the Hebrew, the latter 
really the LXX. spelling, HsTitppjjs. "We may perhaps see herein a trace 
of a double authorship in the Test. Joseph. 

2 Cf. Gen. xxxix. 1, LXX., and Josephus (Antiq. ii. 4. 1), who calls Poti 
phar [tctysipuy 6 petfffaevf. The view of the Eng. ver. is most probably 
correct, though we find H3D used in the sense of cook in 1 Sam. ix. 23. 



TESTAMENT OF JOSEPH. 67 

son. And I prayed unto the Lord, and she bare a male child ; 
therefore for a time she embraced me as a son, and I knew it 
not. Last of all, she sought to draw me into fornication. And 
when I perceived it, I sorrowed even unto death ; and when she 
had gone out I came to myself, and I lamented for her many 
days, because I saw her guile and her deceit. And I declared 
unto her the words of the Most High, if haply she would turn 
from her evil lust. 

4. How often has she fawned upon me with words as a holy 
man, with guile in her talk, praising my chastity before her 
husband, while desiring to destroy me when we were alone ! 
She lauded me openly as chaste, and in secret she said unto 
me, Fear not my husband; for he is persuaded concerning 
thy chastity, so that even should one tell him concerning us 
he would in no wise believe. For all these things I lay 
upon the ground in sackcloth, and I besought God that the 
Lord would deliver me from the Egyptian. And when she 
prevailed nothing, she came again to me under the plea of 
instruction, that she might know the word of the Lord. And 
she said unto me, If thou wiliest that I should leave my idols, 
be persuaded by me, and I will persuade my husband to depart 
from his idols, and we will walk in the law of thy Lord. And 
I said unto her, The Lord willeth not that those who reverence 
Him should be in uncleanness, nor doth He take pleasure in 
them that commit adultery. And she held her peace, longing 
to accomplish her evil desire. And I gave myself yet more to 
fasting and prayer, that the Lord should deliver me from her. 

5. And again at another time she said unto me, If thou wilt 
not commit adultery, I will kill my husband, and so will I 
lawfully take thee to be my husband. I therefore, when I 
heard this, rent my garment, and said, "Woman, reverence the 
Lord, and do not this evil deed, lest thou be utterly destroyed ; 
for I will declare thy ungodly thought unto all men. She 
therefore, being afraid, besought that I would declare to no 
one her wickedness. And she departed, soothing me with 
gifts, and sending to me every delight of the sons of men. 

6. And she sendeth to me food sprinkled with enchantments. 
And when the eunuch who brought it came, I looked up and 
beheld a terrible man giving me with the dish a sword, and I 
perceived that her scheme was for the deception of my soul. 



GS THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

And when he had gone out I wept, nor did I taste that or any 
other of her food. So then after one day she came to me and 
observed the food, and said unto me, What is this, that thou 
hast not eaten of the food ? And I said unto her, It is because 
thou filledst it with death ; and how saidst thou, I come not near 
to idols, but to the Lord alone ? Now therefore know that the 
God of my father hath revealed unto me by an angel thy 
wickedness, and I have kept it to convict thee, if haply thou 
mayest see it and repent. But that thou mayest learn that the 
wickedness of the ungodly hath no power over them that reve 
rence God in chastity, I took it and ate it before her, saying, 
The God of my fathers and the Arigel of Abraham shall be 
with me. And she fell upon her face at my feet, and wept ; 
and I raised her up and admonished her, and she promised to 
do this iniquity no more. 

7. But because her heart was set upon me to commit lewd- 
ness, she sighed, and her countenance fell. And when her 
husband saw her, he said unto her, Why is thy countenance 
fallen ? And she said, I have a pain at my heart, and the 
groanings of my spirit do oppress me ; and so he comforted 
her who was not sick. Then she rushed in to me while her 
husband was yet without, and said unto me, I will hang myself, 
or cast myself into a well or over a cliff, if thou wilt not con 
sent unto me. And when I saw the spirit of Beliar was 
troubling her, I prayed unto the Lord, and said unto her, Why 
art thou troubled and disturbed, blinded in sins ? Remember 
that if thou killest thyself, Sethon, the concubine of thy 
husband, thy rival, will beat thy children, and will destroy thy 
memorial from off the earth. And she said unto me, Lo then 
thou lovest me ; this alone is sufficient for me, that thou carest 
for my life and my children : I have expectation that I shall 
enjoy my desire. And she knew not that because of my God 
I spake thus, and not because of her. For if a man hath 
fallen before the passion of a wicked desire, then by that hath 
he become enslaved, even as also was she. And if he hear any 
good thing with regard to the passion whereby he is vanquished^ 
he receiveth it unto his wicked desire. 

8. I declare unto you, my children, that it was about the 
sixth hour when she departed from me ; and I knelt before the 
Lord all that day, and continued all the night ; and about dawn 



TESTAMENT OF JOSEPH. 69 

I rose up weeping, and praying for a release from the Egyptian. 
At last, then, she laid hold of my garments, forcibly dragging 
me to have connection with her. When, therefore, I saw that 
in her madness she was forcibly holding my garments, I fled 
away naked. And she falsely accused me to her husband, and 
the Egyptian cast me into the prison in his house ; and on the 
morrow, having scourged me, the Egyptian 1 sent me into the 
prison in his house. When, therefore, I was in fetters, the 
Egyptian woman fell sick from her vexation, and listened to 
me how I sang praises unto the Lord while I was in the abode 
of darkness, and with glad voice rejoiced and glorified my God 
only because by a pretext I had been rid of the Egyptian 
woman. 

9. How often hath she sent unto me, saying, Consent to 
fulfil my desire, and I will release thee from thy bonds, and I 
will free thee from the darkness ! And not even in thoughts 
did I ever incline unto her. For God loveth him who in a den 
of darkness fasteth with chastity, rather than him who in secret 
chambers liveth delicately without restraint. And whosoever 
liveth in chastity, and desireth also glory, and if the Most High 
knoweth that it is expedient for him, he bestoweth this also 
upon him, even as upon me. How often, though she were sick, 
did she come down to me at unlooked-for times, and listened 
to my voice as I prayed ! And when I heard her groanings I 
held my peace. For when I was in her house she was wont to 
bare her arms, and breasts, and legs, that I might fall before 
her; for she was very beautiful, splendidly adorned for my 
deception. And the Lord guarded me from her devices. 

10. Ye see therefore, my children, how great things patience 
worketh, and prayer with fasting. And if ye therefore follow 
after sobriety and purity in patience and humility of heart, the 
Lord will dwell among you, because He loveth sobriety. And 
wheresoever, the Most High dwelleth, even though a man fall 
into envy, or slavery, or slander, the Lord who dwelleth in 
him, for his sobriety s sake not only delivereth him from 
evil, but also exalteth and glorifieth him, even as me. For in 
every way the man is guarded, whether in deed, or in word, or in 
thought. My brethren know how my father loved me, and I 

1 This repetition of a clause seems like the slip of a copyist. The Ox. 
MS. reads, elf rqv sipx,T f /i<j rw 



70 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

was not exalted in ray heart ; although I was a child, I had 
the fear of God in my thoughts. For I knew that all things 
should pass away, and I kept myself within bounds, and I 
honoured my brethren ; and through fear of them I held my 
peace when I was sold, and revealed not my family to the 
Ishmaelites, that I was the son of Jacob, a great man and a 
mighty. 

11. Do ye also, therefore, have the fear of God in your works, 
and honour your brethren. For every one who worketh the 
law of the Lord shall be loved by Him. And when I came to 
the Indocolpitse with the Ishmaelites, they asked me, and I 
said that I was a slave from their house, that I might not put 
my brethren to shame. And the eldest of them said unto me, 
Thou art not a slave, for even thy appearance doth make it 
manifest concerning thee. And he threatened me even unto 
death. But I said that I was their slave. Now when we came 
into Egypt, they strove concerning me, which of them should 
buy me and take me. Therefore it seemed good to all that I 
should remain in Egypt with a merchant of their trade, until 
they should return bringing merchandise. And the Lord gave 
me favour in the eyes of the merchant, and he entrusted unto 
me his house. And the Lord blessed him by my means, and 
increased him in silver and gold, and I was with him three 
months and five days. 

12. About that time the Memphian wife of Potiphar passed 
by with great pomp, and cast her eyes upon me, because her 
eunuchs told her concerning me. And she told her husband 
concerning the merchant, that he had become rich by means of 
a young Hebrew, saying, And they say that men have indeed 
stolen him out of the land of Canaan. Now therefore execute 
judgment with him, and take away the youth to be thy steward ; 
so shall the God of the Hebrews bless thee, for grace from heaven 
is upon him. 

13. And Potiphar was persuaded by her words, and com 
manded the merchant to be brought, and said unto him, What 
is this that I hear, that thou stealest souls out of the land of 
the Hebrews, and sellest them for slaves? The merchant 
therefore fell upon his face, and besought him, saying, I be 
seech thee, my lord, I know not what thou sayest. And he 
said, Whence then is thy Hebrew servant ? And he said, The 



TESTAMENT OF JOSEPH. 71 

Ishmaelites entrusted him to me until they should return. And 
lie believed him not, but commanded him to be stripped and 
beaten. And when he persisted, Potiphar said, Let the youth 
be brought. And when I was brought in, I did obeisance to 
the chief of the eunuchs (for he was third in rank with Pharaoh, 
being chief of all the eunuchs, and having wives and children 
and concubines). And he took me apart from him, and said 
unto me, Art thou a slave or free ? And I said, A slave. And 
he said unto me, Whose slave art thou ? And I said unto him, 
The Ishmaelites . And again he said unto me, How becamest 
thou their slave? And I said, They bought me out of the 
land of Canaan. And he believed me not, and said, Thou liest : 
and he commanded me to be stripped and beaten. 

14. Now the Memphian woman was looking through a 
window while I was being beaten, and she sent unto her 
husband, saying, Thy judgment is unjust ; for thou dost even 
punish a free man who hath been stolen, as though he were a 
transgressor. And when I gave no other answer though I was 
beaten, he commanded that we should be kept in guard, until, 
said he, the owners of the boy shall come. And his wife said 
unto him, Wherefore dost thou detain in captivity this noble 
child, who ought rather to be set at liberty, and wait upon 
thee ? For she wished to see me in desire of sin, and I was 
ignorant concerning all these things. Then said he to his wife, 
It is not the custom of the Egyptians to take away that which 
belongeth to others before proof is given. This he said con 
cerning the merchant, and concerning me, that I must be im 
prisoned. 

15. Now, after four and twenty days came the Ishmaelites; 
and having heard that Jacob my father was mourning because 
of me, they said unto me, Plow is it that thou saidst that thou 
wert a slave? and lo, we have learnt that thou art the son of a 
mighty man in the land of Canaan, and thy father grieveth 
for thee in sackcloth. And again I would have wept, but I 
restrained myself, that I should not put my brethren to shame. 
And I said, I know not, I am a slave. Then they take counsel 
to sell me, that I should not be found in their hands. For 
they feared Jacob, lest he should work upon them a deadly 
vengeance. For it had been heard that he was mighty with 
the Lord and with men. Then said the merchant unto them, 



72 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

Kelease me from the judgment of Potipliar. They therefore 
came and asked for me, saying, He was bought by us with 
money. And he sent us away. 

16. Now the Memphian woman pointed me out to her hus 
band, that he should buy me ; for I hear, said she, that they 
are selling him. And she sent a eunuch to the Ishmaelites, 
and asked them to sell me ; and since he was not willing to 
traffic with them, he returned. So when the eunuch had made 
trial of them, he made known to his mistress that they asked 
a large price for their slave. And she sent another eunuch, 
saying, Even though they demand two minse of gold, take 
heed not to spare the gold ; only buy the boy, and bring him 
hither. And he gave them eighty pieces of gold for me, and 
told his mistress that a hundred had been given for me. And 
when I saw it I held my peace, that the eunuch should not be 
punished. 

17. Ye see, my children, what great things I endured that 
I should not put my brethren to shame. Do ye also love one 
another, and with long-suffering hide ye one another s faults. 
For God delighteth in the unity of brethren, and in the pur 
pose of a heart approved unto love. And when my brethren 
came into Egypt, and learnt that I returned their money unto 
them, and upbraided them not, yea, that I even comforted 
them, and after the death of Jacob I loved them more 
abundantly, and all things whatsoever he commanded I did 
very abundantly, then they marvelled. For I suffered them 
not to be afflicted even unto the smallest matter ; and all that 
was in my hand I gave unto them. Their children were my 
children, and my children were as their servants ; their life was 
my life, and all their suffering was my suffering, and all their 
sickness was my infirmity. My land was their land, my 
counsel their counsel, and I exalted not myself among them in 
arrogance because of my worldly glory, but I was among them 
as one of the least. 

18. If ye also therefore walk in the commandments of the 
Lord, my children, He will exalt you there, and will bless you 
with good things for ever and ever. And if any one seeketh 
to do evil unto you, do ye by well-doing pray for him, and ye 
shall be redeemed of the Lord from all evil. For, behold, ye 
see that through long-suffering I took unto wife even the 



TES1AMENT OF JOSEPH. 73 

daughter of my x master. And a hundred talents of gold were 
given me with her; for the Lord made them to serve me. 
And He gave me also beauty as a flower above the beautiful 
ones of Israel ; and He preserved me unto old age in strength 
and in beauty, because I was like in all things to Jacob. 

19. Hear ye also, my children, the visions which I saw. 
There were twelve deer feeding, and the nine were divided and 
scattered in the land, likewise also the three. And I saw that 
from Judah was born a virgin wearing a linen 2 garment, and 
from her went forth a Lamb, without spot, and on His left hand 
there was as it were a lion ; and all the beasts rushed against 
Him, and the lamb overcame them, and destroyed them, and 
trod them under foot. And because of Him the angels rejoiced, 
and men, and all the earth. And these things shall take place 
in their season, in the last days. Do ye therefore, my children, 
observe the commandments of the Lord, and honour Judah 
and Levi ; for from them shall arise unto you the Lamb of 
God, by grace saving all the Gentiles and Israel. For His 
kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, which shall not be shaken ; 
but my kingdom among you shall come to an end as a watcher s 
hammock, which after the summer will not appear. 

20. I know that after my death the Egyptians will afflict 
you, but God will undertake your cause, and will bring you 
into that which He promised to your fathers. But carry ye up 
my bones with you ; 4 for when my bones are taken up, the 
Lord will be with you in light, and Beliar shall be in darkness 
with the Egyptians. And carry ye up Zilpah your mother, 
and lay her near Bilhah, by the hippodrome, by the side of 

1 Another account is given in the Targ. Ps. Jon. of Gen. xli. 45 :" And 
he gave him to wife Asenath, whom Dinah bare to Shechem, and the wife 
of Potipherah prince of Tanes brought up." 

2 This wearing of a linen garment would seem to imply a connection 
with the priestly tribe. St. Luke (i. 36) indeed calls the Virgin the kins 
woman of Elisabeth. On this tendency to associate the old sacerdotal 
tribe with the new royalty of Messiah, cf. e.g. Protevangel. Jacobi, cc. 6, 7, 9 ; 
Augustine, contra Faustum, xxiii. 4 ; Epiphanius, Hxr. Ixxviii. 13. 

3 Isa. i. 8, xxiv. 20. 

4 Cf. Test. Simeon 8, and Julrilees 4G. The account of Joseph s burial in 
the Targ. Ps. Jon. on Gen. 1. 26 is : "And Joseph died, a hundred and ten 
years old ; and they embalmed him, and placed him in a coffin, and sank 
Jiim in the middle of the Nile of Egypt." 



74 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

Eachel. 1 And when he had said these things, he stretched out 
his feet, and slept the long sleep. And all Israel bewailed 
him, and all Egypt, with a great lamentation. For he felt 
even for the Egyptians even as his own members, and showed 
them kindness, aiding them in every work, and counsel, and 
matter. 



THE TESTAMENT OF BENJAMIN CONCEENING A 
PUEE MIND. 

1. The record of the words of Benjamin, which he set forth 
to his sons, after he had lived a hundred and twenty years. 
And he kissed them, and said : As Isaac was born to Abraham 
in his hundredth year, so also was I to Jacob. Now since 
Eachel died in giving me birth, I had no milk ; therefore I was 
suckled by Bilhah her handmaid. For Eachel remained barren 
for twelve years after that she had born Joseph : and she 
prayed the Lord with fasting twelve days, and she conceived 
and bare me. For our father loved Eachel dearly, and prayed 
that he might see two sons born from her: therefore was I 
called the son of days, which is Benjamin. 2 

2. When therefore I went into Egypt, and Joseph my brother 
recognised me, he said unto me, What did they tell my father 
in that they sold me? And I said unto him, They dabbled 
thy coat with blood and sent it, and said, Look if this is the 
coat of thy son. And he said to me, Even so, brother ; for 
when the Ishmaelites took me, one of them stripped off my 
coat, and gave me a girdle, and scourged me, and bade me run. 
And as he went away to hide my garment, a lion met him, 
and slew him ; and so his fellows were afraid, and sold me to 
their companions. 

3. Do ye also therefore, my children, love the Lord God of 

1 Cf. Gen. xlviii. 7, LXX. 

2 The ordinary theory as to the meaning of Benjamin is comparatively 
late, and seems doubtful. The Targiim JerusJialmi (on Gen. xxxv. 18), 
and the Bresliiih Itabla, 82, make Benjamin and Benoni synonymous. 
Cf. Josephus, Antiq. i. 21. 3 ; Cyril, Glaph. in Gen. lib. iv. With the view 
mentioned iu the text, cf. Arethas on Rev. vii. 8 (Cramer s Catena, viii. 289). 



TESTAMENT OF BENJAMIN. 75 

heaven, and keep His commandments, and be followers of the 
good and holy man Joseph ; and let your mind be unto good, 
even as ye know me. He that hath his mind good seeth all 
things rightly. Fear ye the Lord, and love your neighbour ; 
and even though the spirits of Beliar allure you into all troublous 
wickedness, yet shall no troublous wickedness have dominion 
over you, even as it had not over Joseph my brother. How 
many men wished to slay him, and God shielded him ! For he 
that feareth God and loveth his neighbour cannot be smitten 
by Beliar s spirit of the air, being shielded by the fear of God ; 
nor can he be ruled over by the device of men or of beasts, for 
he is aided by the love of the Lord which he hath towards his 
neighbour. For he even besought our father Jacob that he 
would pray for our brethren, that the Lord would not impute 
to them the evil that they devised concerning Joseph. And 
thus Jacob cried out, My child Joseph, thou hast prevailed, 
over the bowels of thy father Jacob. And he embraced him, 
and kissed him for two hours, saying, In thee shall be fulfilled 
the prophecy of heaven concerning the Lamb of God, even the 
Saviour of the world, that spotless shall He be delivered up for 
transgressors, and sinless l shall He be put to death for ungodly 
men in the blood of the covenant, for the salvation of the Gen 
tiles and of Israel, and shall destroy Beliar, and them that 
serve him. 

4. Know ye, my children, the end of the good man? Be 
followers of his compassion in a good mind, that ye also may 
wear crowns of glory. The good man hath not a dark eye; 
for he showeth mercy to all men, even though they be sinners, 
even though they devise evil concerning him. So he that 
doeth good overcometh the evil, being shielded by Him that is 
good ; and he loveth the righteous as his own soul. If any 
one is glorified, he envieth him not ; if any one is enriched, 
he is not jealous ; if any one is valiant, he praiseth him ; he 
trusteth and laudeth him that is sober-minded ; he showeth 
mercy to the poor; he is kindly disposed toward the weak; he 
singeth the praises of God ; as for him who hath the fear of 
God, he protecteth him as with a shield; him that loveth God 
he aideth ; him that rejecteth the Most High he admonisheth 

1 This would seem to be the earliest instance of the application of the 
word dvotpctpTWTos to our Lord. 



76 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

and turneth back ; and him that hath the grace of a good spirit, 
he loveth even as his own soul. 

5. If ye have a good mind, my children, then will both 
wicked men be at peace with you, and the profligate will reve 
rence you and turn unto good ; and the covetous shall not only 
cease from their inordinate desire, but shall even give the 
fruits of their covetousness to them that are afflicted. If ye do 
well, even the unclean spirits shall flee from you ; yea, the very 
beasts shall flee from you in dread. For where the reverence 
for good works is present unto the mind, darkness fleeth away 
from him. For if any one is injurious to a holy man, he re- 
pen teth; for the holy man showeth pity on his reviler, and 
holdeth his peace. And if any one betray a righteous soul, and 
the righteous man, though praying, be humbled for a little 
while, yet not long after he appeareth far more glorious, even 
as was Joseph my brother. 

6. The mind of the good man is not in the power of the 
deceit of the spirit of Beliar, for the angel of peace guideth his 
soul. He gazeth not passionately on corruptible things, nor 
gathereth together riches unto desire of pleasure ; he delighteth 
not in pleasure, he hurteth not his neighbour, he pampereth 
not himself with food, he erreth not in the pride of his eyes, 
for the Lord is his portion. The good mind admitteth not the 
glory and dishonour of men, neither knoweth it any guile or 
lie, fighting or reviling; for the Lord dwelleth in him and 
lighteth up his soul, and he rejoiceth towards all men at every 
time. The good mind hath not two tongues, of blessing and 
of cursing, of insult and of honour, of sorrow and of joy, of 
quietness and of trouble, of hypocrisy and of truth, of poverty 
and of wealth ; but it hath one disposition, pure and uncorrupt, 
concerning all men. It hath no double sight, nor double 
hearing; for in everything which he doeth, or speaketh, or 
seeth, he knoweth that the Lord watcheth his soul, and he 
cleanseth his mind that he be not condemned by God and men. 
But of Beliar every work is twofold, and hath no singleness. 

7. Flee ye therefore, my children, the evil-doing of Beliar ; 
for it giveth a sword to them that obey it, and the sword is the 
mother of seven evils. First the mind conceiveth through 
Beliar, and first there is envy ; secondly, desperation ; thirdly, 
tribulation; fourthly, captivity; fifthly, neediness ; sixthly, 



TESTAMENT OF BENJAMIN. 77 

trouble ; seventhly, desolation. Therefore also Cain is delivered 
over to seven vengeances by God, for in every hundred years 
the Lord brought one plague upon him. Two hundred years 
he suffered, and in the nine hundredth year he was brought to 
desolation at the flood, for Abel his righteous brother s sake. 
In seven 1 hundred years was Cain judged, and Lamech in 
seventy times seven ; because for ever those who are likened 
unto Cain in envy unto hatred of brethren shall be judged 
with the same punishment. 

8. Do ye also therefore, my children, flee ill-doing, envy, 
and hatred of brethren, and cleave to goodness and love. He 
that hath a pure mind in love, looketh not after a woman unto 
fornication ; for he hath no defilement in his heart, because the 
Spirit of God resteth in him. For as the sun is not defiled by 
shining over dung and mire, but rather drieth up both and 
driveth away the ill smell ; so also the pure mind, constrained 
among the defilements of the earth, rather edifieth, and itself 
suffereth no defilement. 

9. Now I suppose, from the words of the righteous Enoch, 
that there will be also evil-doings among you : for ye will 
commit fornication with the fornication of Sodom, and shall 
perish all save a few, and will multiply inordinate lusts with 
women ; and the kingdom of the Lord shall not be among you, 
for forthwith He will take it away. Nevertheless the temple 
of God shall be built in your portion, and shall be glorious 
among you. For He shall take it, and the twelve tribes shall 
be gathered together there, and all the Gentiles, until the Most 
High shall send forth His salvation in the visitation of His 
only-begotten one. And He shall enter into the front 2 of the 
temple, and there shall the Lord be treated with outrage, and 
He shall be lifted up upon a tree. And the veil of the temple 
shall be rent, and the Spirit of God shall descend upon the 
Gentiles as fire poured forth. And He shall arise from the 
grave, and shall ascend from earth into heaven : and I know 
how lowly He shall be upon the earth, and how glorious in 
the heaven. 

10. Now when Joseph was in Egypt, I longed to see his 
visage and the form of his countenance ; and through the 

1 For eirraxoaiot; snaty the Ox. MS. reads simply STTTX. 

2 This would seem to be the meaning of Kpuro; veto;. 



78 THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS. 

prayers of Jacob my father I saw him, while awake in the day 
time, in his full and perfect shape. Know ye therefore, my 
children, that I am dying. Work therefore truth and righteous 
ness each one with his neighbour, and judgment unto faithful 
doing, and keep the law of the Lord and His commandments ; 
for these things do I teach you instead of all inheritance. Do 
ye also therefore give them to your children for an everlasting 
possession ; for so did both Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. All 
these things they gave us for an inheritance, saying, Keep the 
commandments of God until the Lord shall reveal His salva 
tion to all nations. Then shall ye see Enoch, Noah, and Shem, 
and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, arising on the right hand 
in gladness. Then shall we also arise, each one over our tribe, 
worshipping the King of heaven, who appeared upon the earth 
in the form of a man of humility. And as many as believed 
on Him on the earth shall rejoice with Him ; and then shall 
all men arise, some unto glory and some unto shame. And 
the Lord shall judge Israel first, even for the wrong they did 
unto Him ; for when He appeared as a deliverer, God in the 
flesh, they believed Him not. And then shall He judge all the 
Gentiles, as many as believed Him not when He appeared upon 
earth. And He shall reprove Israel among the chosen ones of 
the Gentiles, even as He reproved Esau among the Midianites, 
who deceived their brethren, so that they fell into fornication 
and idolatry ; and they were alienated from God, and became 
as they that were no children in the portion of them that fear 
the Lord. But if ye walk in holiness in the presence of the 
Lord, ye shall dwell in hope again in me, and all Israel shall 
be gathered unto the Lord. 

11. And I shall no longer be called a ravening wolf 1 on 
account of your ravages, but a worker of the Lord, distribut 
ing food to them that work what is good. And one 2 shall rise 
up from my seed in the latter times, beloved of the Lord, hear 
ing upon the earth His voice, enlightening with new know 
ledge all the Gentiles, bursting in upon Israel for salvation 
with the light of knowledge, and tearing it away from it like 

1 Gen. xlix. 27. 

2 This passage, referring to St. Paul (who was of the tribe of Benjamin, 
Rom. xi. 1, Phil. iii. 5), is quoted by Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem, 
v. 1 ; cf. Scorpiace, 13. 



TESTAMENT OF BENJAMIN. 79 

a wolf, and giving it to the synagogue of the Gentiles. And 
until the consummation of the ages shall he be in the syna 
gogues of the Gentiles, and among their rulers, as a strain of 
music in the mouth of all ; and he shall be inscribed in the 
holy books, both his work and his word, and he shall be a 
chosen one of God for ever ; and because of him my father 
Jacob instructed me, saying, He shall fill up that which lacketh 
of thy tribe. 

12. And when he finished his words, he said : I charge you, 
my children, carry up my bones out of Egypt, and bury me at 
Hebron, near my fathers. So Benjamin died a hundred and 
twenty-five years old, in a good old age, and they placed him 
in a coffin. And in the ninety-first year of the departure of 
the children of Israel from Egypt, they and their brethren 
brought up the bones of their fathers secretly in a place which 
is called Canaan; and they buried them in Hebron, by the 
feet of their fathers. And they returned from the land of 
Canaan, and dwelt in Egypt until the day of their departing 
from the land of Egypt. 



FKAGMENTS 



OP THE 



SECOND AND THIED CENTUEIES. 



THE translation of the Syriac pieces contained in this volume is based on 
a careful examination of that made by Dr. Cureton, the merits of which 
are cordially acknowledged. It will, however, be seen that it differs from 
that in many and important particulars. 

Many thanks are due to the Dean of Canterbury for his kindness in 

giving much valuable help. 

1>. r . r. 




INTRODUCTORY NOTICE. 

]HE fragments that follow are the productions of 
writers who lived during the second century or 
the beginning of the third. Little is known of the 
writers, and the statements made in regard to them 
are often very indefinite, and the result of mere conjecture. 

Bardesan, or Bardesanes, according to one account, was born 
at Edessa in 154 A.D., and it is supposed that he died sometime 
between 224 and 230. Eusebius says that he flourished in the 
time of Marcus Aurelius. He was for some time resident at 
the court of Abgar vi., King of Edessa, with whom he was on 
intimate terms. He at first belonged to the gnostic sect of the 
Valeritinians ; but abandoning it, he seemed to come nearer the 
orthodox beliefs; but in reality, it is said, he devised errors of 
his own. He wrote many works. Eusebius attributes the work 
now translated, The Book of Laws, or On Fate, to Bardesanes ; 
but many modern critics have come to the conclusion that it 
was written by a scholar of Bardesanes, but that it gives us the 
genuine opinions and reasonings- of Bardesanes. The question 
is of interest in connection with the Clementine Recognitions, 
which contain a large portion of the work. The Syriac was 
first published by Cureton in his Spicilegium. 

Melito was Bishop of Sardis, and flourished in the reign of 
Marcus Aurelius. He wrote many works, but all of them have 
perished except a few fragments. The genuineness of the 
Syriac fragments is open to question. 

Quadratus was one of the first of the Christian apologists. 
He is said to have presented his apology to Hadrian, while the 
emperor was in Athens, attending the celebration of the Eleu- 
sinian mysteries. 

Aristo of Pella, a Jew, was the author of a work called The 
Disputation of Jason and Papiscus. Nothing further is known 
of him. He flourished in the first half of the second century. 

83 



84 INTROD UCTOR Y NOTICE. 

Claudius Apollinaris was Bishop of Hierapolis, and presented 
a defence of the Christians to Marcus Aurelius. He wrote 
many important works, of which we have only a few fragments. 

Hegesippus also flourished in the time of Antoninus Pius and 
Marcus Aurelius. He is the first ecclesiastical historian, but 
his hook was rather notes for an ecclesiastical history than a 
history. 

PantaBnus, probably a Sicilian by birth, passed from Stoicism 
to Christianity, and went to India to proclaim the truth. He 
returned to Alexandria, and became president of the cateche 
tical school there, in which post he remained till his death, 
which took place about the year 212 A.D. 

Rhodo went from Asia to Rome, and became a pupil of 
Tatian. After the lapse of his master into heresy, he remained 
true to the faith, and wrote against heretics. 

Maximus flourished about the same time as Rhodo, under the 
Emperors Commodus and Severus. 

Polycrates was Bishop of Ephesus. He took a part in the 
controversy on the Passover question. He died about 200 A.D. 

Theophilus was Bishop of Csesarea. He was contemporary 
with Polycrates, and, like him, engaged in the Passover con 
troversy. 

Serapion was ordained Bishop of Antioch in 190 A.D., but 
almost no other fact of his life is known. He wrote several 
works. 

Apollonius wrote a work against the Montanists, probably 
in the year 210 A.D. This is all that is known of him. 

Dionysius was Bishop of Corinth in the reign of Marcus 
Aurelius. He wrote letters to various churches. 

The letter of the churches in Vienne and Lyons was written 
shortly after the persecution in Gaul, that took place in A.D. 
177. It is not known who is the author. Some have supposed 
that Irenseus wrote it ; but there is no historical testimony to 
this effect. 




FRAGMENTS OF THE SECOND AND TIIIED 
CENTUEIES, 



BABDESAN. 1 

THE BOOK OF THE LAWS OF [VARIOUS] COUNTRIES. 2 

JOME days since we were calling 3 to pay a visit to our 
brother Shernashgram, and Bardesan came and 
found us there. And when he had made inquiries 
after his health, 4 and ascertained that he was well, 
he asked us, " What were you talking about ? for I heard your 
voice outside as I was coming in." For it was his habit, when 
ever he found us talking about anything before he came, 5 to 
ask us, " What were you saying?" that he might talk with us 
about it. 

" Avida here," said we to him, "was saying to us, ( If God is 
one, as ye say, and if He is the creator of men, and if it is His 
will that you should do that which you are commanded, why 
did He not so create men that they should not be able to do 
wrong, but should constantly be doing that which is right? for 
in this way His will would have been accomplished. " 

" Tell me, my son Avida," said Bardesan to him, " why it 
has come into thy mind that the God of all is not One ; or that 

1 Lit. " Son of Daisan," from a river so called near Edessa. HAIIN. 

2 Called by Eusebius, Hist. Eccl iv. 30, The Discourse on Fate ( O vspl 
tifAotppsyns S/aAoyof). This is more correct than the title above given : the 
"Laws" are adduced only as illustrations of the arguLient of the piece. 
The subject would, however, be more properly given as " The Freedom of 
the Will." 

3 Lit. " going in." Cureton renders, " we went up." 

4 Lit. " felt him." 5 Lit. " before him." Merx : " elie cr kam." 

85 



86 FRAGMENTS. 

He is One but doth not will that men should behave them 
selves justly and uprightly?" 

" I, sir," said Avid a, " have asked these [brethren], persons of 
my own a^e, in order that they may return me an answer." 

" If," said Bardesan to him, " thou wishest to learn, it were 
for thy advantage to learn from some one who is older than 
they ; but if to teach, it is not requisite for thee to ask them, 
but [rather] that thou shouldst induce them to ask thee what 
they wish. For teachers are asked questions, and do not them 
selves ask them ; or, if they ever do ask a question, it is to 
direct the mind of the questioner, so that he may ask properly, 
and they may know what his desire is. For it is a good thing 
that a man should know how to ask questions." 

" For my part," said Avida, " I wish to learn ; but I began 
first of all to question my brethren here, because I was too 
bashful to ask thee." 

"Thou speakest becomingly," 1 said Bardesan. "But know, 
nevertheless, that he who asks questions properly, and wishes 
to be convinced, and approaches the way of truth without con 
tentiousness, has no need to be bashful ; because he is sure 
by means of the things I have mentioned to please him to 
whom his questions are addressed. If so be, therefore, my son, 
thou hast any opinion of thy own 2 respecting this matter about 
which thou hast asked, tell it to us all ; and, if we too approve 
of it, we shall express our agreement with thee ; and, if we do 
not approve of it, we shall be under obligation to show thee 
why we do not approve of it. But if thou wast simply desirous 
of becoming acquainted with this subject, and hast no opinion 
of thy own about it, as a man who has but lately joined the 
disciples and is a recent inquirer, I will tell thee [respecting it] ; 
so that thou mayest not go from us empty away. If, more 
over, thou art pleased with those things which I shall say to 
thee, we have other things besides to tell thee 3 concerning this 
matter ; but, if thou art not pleased, we on our part shall have 
stated our views without any personal feeling." 

" I too," said Avida, " shall be much gratified 4 to hear and 

1 The word used is formed from the Greek sva%rip6vu$. 

2 Lit. " hast anything in thy mind." 

3 Lit. " there are for thee other things also." 

4 |i$ is here substituted for the ^5"| of the text, which yields no sense. 



BAEDESAN. 87 

to be convinced : because it is not from another that I have 
heard of this subject, but I have spoken of it to my brethren 
here out of my own mind ; and they have not cared to convince 
me ; but they say, l Only believe, and thou wilt [then] be able 
to know everything. But for my part, I cannot believe unless 
I be convinced." 

" Not only," said Bardesan, " is Avida unwilling to believe, 
but there are many [others] also who, because there is no faith 
in them, are not even capable of being convinced ; but they 
are always pulling down and building up, and [so] are found 
destitute of all knowledge of the truth. But notwithstanding, 
since Avida is not willing to believe, lo ! I will speak to you 
who do believe, concerning this matter about which he asks ; 
and [thus] he too will hear something further [about it]." 

He began accordingly to address us [as follows] : " Many 
men are there who have not faith, and have not received know 
ledge from the True Wisdom. 1 In consequence of this, they 
are not competent to speak and give instruction [to others], nor 
are they readily inclined themselves to hear. For they have 
not the foundation of faith to build upon, nor have they any 
confidence on which to rest their hope. Moreover, because 
they are accustomed to doubt even concerning God, they like 
wise have not in them the fear of Him, which would of itself 
deliver them from all [other] fears: for he in whom there is 
no fear of God is the slave of all [sorts of] fears. For, even 
with regard to those things of various kinds which they dis 
believe, they are not certain that they disbelieve them rightly, 
but they are unsettled in their opinions, and have no fixed 
belief, 2 and the taste of their thoughts is insipid in their [own] 
mouth ; and they are always haunted with fear, and flushed 
with excitement, and reckless. 

" But with regard to what Avida has said : How is it that 
God did not so make us that we should not sin and incur con 
demnation 1 if man had been made so, he would not have 
belonged to himself, but would have been the instrument of 
him that moved him ; and it is evident also, that he who moves 
[an instrument] as he pleases, moves it either for good or for 
evil. And how, in that case, would a man differ from a harp, on 

1 Lit. "the wisdom of the truth." 

2 Lit. " are not able to stand." 



88 FRAGMENTS. 

which another plays; or from a ship, which another guides: where 
the praise and the blame reside in the hand of the performer 
or the steersman, 1 and the harp itself knows not what is played 
on it, nor the ship itself whether it be well steered and guided 
[or ill], they being only instruments made for the use of him 
in whom is the [requisite] skill ? But God in His benignity 
chose not so to make man ; but by freedom He exalted him 
above many [of His] creatures, and [even] made him equal 
with the angels. For look at the sun, and the moon, and the 
sio-ns of the zodiac, 2 and all the other creatures which are 

O ^ 

greater than we in some points, [and see] how individual 
freedom has been denied them, and how they are all fixed [in 
their course] by decree, so that they may do that only which 
is decreed for them, and nothing else. For the sun never 
says, I will not rise at my appointed time ; nor the moon, I 
will not change, nor wane, nor wax ; nor does any one of the 
stars say, I will not rise nor set ; nor the sea, I will not bear 
up the ships, nor stay within my boundaries ; nor the moun 
tains, We will not continue in the places in which we are set ; 
nor do the winds say, We will not blow ; nor the earth, I 
will not bear up and sustain whatsoever is upon me. But all 
these things are servants, and are subject to one decree : for 
they are the instruments of the wisdom of God ; which erreth 
not. 

[Not so, however, with man]: for, if everything ministered, 
who would be he that is ministered to ? And, if everything 
were ministered to, who would be he that ministered? [In 
that case], too, there would not be one thing diverse from 
another : yet that which is one, and in which there is no 
diversity [of parts], is a being 3 which up to this time has not 
been fashioned. But those things which are destined 4 for 
ministering have been fixed in the power of man : because in 

1 Or, "in the hand of the operator:" but it is better to employ two 
words. 

2 Or, "and the sphere/ 

3 The word ]_Z|, here used, occurs subsequently as a designation of the 
Gnostic ^Eous. Here, as Merx observes, it can hardly go beyond its 
original meaning of ens, entia, Wesen, that which is. It evidently refers, 
however, in this passage to a system of things, a world. 

4 Lit. "required." 



BARDESAN. 89 

the image of Eloliim 1 was he made. Therefore have these 
things, in the benignity [of God], been given to him, that they 
may minister to him for a season. It has also been given to 
him to be guided by his own will ; so that whatever he is able 
to do, if he will he may do it, and if he do not will he may not 
do it, and [that so] he may justify himself or condemn. For, 
had he been made so as not to be able to do evil and thereby 
incur condemnation, in like manner also the good which he did 
would not have been his own, and he could not have been 
justified by it. For, if any one should not of his own will do 
that which is good or that which is evil, his justification and 
his condemnation would rest simply with that Fortune to which 
he is subjected. 2 

" It will therefore be manifest to you, that the goodness of 
God is great toward man, and that freedom has been given to 
him in greater measure than to any of those elemental bodies 3 
of which we have spoken, in order that by this freedom he may 
justify himself, and order his conduct in a godlike manner, 
and be copartner with angels, who are likewise possessed of 
personal freedom. For we are sure that, if the angels likewise 
had not been possessed of personal freedom, they would not 
have consorted with the daughters of men, and sinned, and 
fallen from their places. In like manner, too, those other 
[angels], who did the will of their Lord, were, by reason of 
their self-control, raised to higher rank, and sanctified, and 
received noble gifts. For every being in existence is in need 
of the Lord of all ; of His gifts also there is no end. 

Know ye, however, notwithstanding [what I have said], that 
even those things of which I have spoken as subsisting by decree 
are not absolutely destitute of all freedom ; and on this account, 
at the last day, they will all be made subject to judgment." 

" But how," said I to him, " should those things which are 
fixed [and regulated by decree] be judged?" 

a Not inasmuch as they are fixed, O Philip," said he, " will 
the elements be judged, but inasmuch as they are endowed with 

1 Gen. i. 27. The Hebrew itself, DTvN 0^*2, is given in Syriac charac 
ters, without translation. 

2 Cureton renders, " for which he is created." Merx has, u das ihn 
gemacht hat." 

3 The Greek 



90 FRAGMENTS. 

power. For beings l are not deprived of their natural proper 
ties 2 when they come to be fashioned, but [only] of the full 
exercise of their strength, 3 suffering a decrease 4 [of power] 
through their intermingling one with another, and being kept 
in subjection by the power of their Maker ; and in so far as 
they are in subjection they will not be judged, but in respect 
of that [only] which is. [under] their own [control]." 

"Those things," said Avida to him, "which thou hast 
said, are very good ; but, lo ! the commands which have 
been given to men are severe, and they cannot perform 
them." 

" This," said Bardesan, " is the saying of one who has not 
the will to do that which is right ; nay, more, of him who has 
[already] yielded obedience and submission to his foe. For 
men have not been commanded to do anything but that which 
they are able to do. For the commandments set before us are 
[only] two, [and they are] such as are compatible with freedom 
and consistent with equity : one, that we refrain from every 
thing which is wrong, and which we should not like to have 
done to ourselves ; and the other, that we should do that which 
is right, and which we love and are pleased to have done to us 
likewise. Who, then, is the man that is too weak to avoid 
stealing, or to avoid lying, or to avoid acts of profligacy, or to 
avoid hatred and deception ? For, lo ! all these things are under 
[the control of] the mind of man ; and are not dependent on 5 
the strength of the body, but on the will of the soul. For 
even if a man be poor, and sick, and old, and disabled in his 
limbs, he is able to avoid doing all these things. And, as he is 
able to avoid doing these things, so is he able to love, and to 
bless, and to speak the truth, and to pray for what is good for 
every one with whom he is acquainted ; and if he be in health, 

1 I^Z], that which exists, especially that which has an independent 
existence, is used here of the Gnostic -(Eons. They were so called in respect 
of their pre-existence, their existence independent of time or creation. 
When they came to be "created," or more properly "fashioned," they 
were called " emanations." 

2 Lit. " of their nature." 

3 Lit. " the strength of their exactness," i.e. their exact (or complete) 
strength. Cureton has, " their force of energy" 

4 Lit. "being lessened," or "lowered." 

5 Lit. "do not take place by." 



BARDESAN. 91 

and capable [of working], 1 he is able also to give of that which 
he has ; moreover, to support with strength of body him that 
is sick and enfeebled this also he can do. 

" Who, then, it is that is not capable of doing that which 
men destitute of faith complain of, I know not. For my part, 
I think that it is precisely in respect to these commandments 
that man has more power than in anything [else]. For they 
are easy, arid there are no circumstances that can hinder their 
performance. For we are not commanded to carry heavy loads 
of stones, or of timber, or of anything else, which those only 
who have [great] bodily strength can do; nor to build for 
tresses 2 and found cities, which kings only can do; nor to 
steer a ship, which mariners only have the skill to steer ; nor 
to measure and divide land, which [land-] measurers only know 
how to do ; nor [to practise] any one of those arts which are 
possessed by some, while the rest are destitute of them. But 
there have been given to us, in accordance with the benignity 
of God, commandments having no harshness in them 3 such 
as any living man whatsoever 4 may rejoice to do. 5 For there 
is no man that does not rejoice when he does that which is 
right, nor any one that is not gladdened within himself if he 
abstains from things that are bad except those who were not 
created for this good thing, and are called tares. 6 For would 
not the judge be unjust who should censure a man with regard 
to any such thing as he has not the ability to do ? " 

" Sayest thou of these deeds, O Bardesan," said Avida to 
him, " that they are easy to do ? " 

" To him that hath the will," said Bardesan, " I have said, 
and do [still] say, that they are easy. For this [obedience I 
contend for] is the proper behaviour of a free mind, 7 and of 
the soul which has not revolted against its governors. As for 
the action of the body, there are many things which hinder- 
it : especially old age, and sickness, and poverty." 

" Possibly," said Avida, " a man may be able to abstain from 

1 Cureton renders, "have the use of his hands:" Merx gives "etwas 
erwirbt." 

2 Or "towns." 3 Lit. "without ill-will." 

4 Lit. " every man in whom there is a soul." 

5 Lit. can do rejoicing." 6 The Greek 
7 Lit. " a mind the son of the free." 



92 FRAGMENTS. 

the things that are bad ; but as for doing the things that are 
good, what man is capable [of this] ? " 

"It is easier," said Bardesan, "to do good than to abstain, 
from evil. For the good comes from the man himself, 1 and 
therefore he rejoices whenever he does good; but the evil is 
the work of the Enemy, and therefore [it is that, only] when a 
man is excited [by some evil passion], and is not in his sound 
natural condition, 2 he does the things that are bad. For know, 
my son, that for a man to praise and bless his friend is an easy 
thing; but for a man to refrain from taunting and reviling 
one whom he hates is not easy: nevertheless, it is possible. 
When, too, a man does that which is right, his mind is glad 
dened, and his conscience at ease, and he is pleased for every 
one to see what he does. But, when a man behaves amiss and 
commits wrong, he is troubled and excited, and full of anger 
and rage, and distressed in his soul and in his body; and, when 
he is in this [state of] mind, he does not like to be seen by any 
one ; and even those things in which he rejoices, and which are 
accompanied with praise and blessing [from others], are spurned 
from his thoughts, while those things by which he is agitated 
and disturbed are [rendered more distressing to him because] 
accompanied by the curse of [conscious] guilt. 

" Perhaps, however, some one will say that fools also are 
pleased when they do abominable things. [Undoubtedly] : but 
not because they do them [as such], nor because they receive 
any commendation [for them], nor because [they do them] 
with a good hope ; 3 nor does the pleasure itself stay long with 
them. For the pleasure which is [experienced] in a healthy 
state [of the soul], with a good hope, is one thing ; and the 
pleasure of a diseased state [of the soul], with a bad hope, 
is another. For lust is one thing, and love is another ; and 
friendship is one thing, and good-fellowship another ; and we 
ought without any difficulty to understand that the false coun 
terfeit of affection which is called lust, even though there be 
in it the enjoyment of the moment, is nevertheless widely dif 
ferent from true affection, whose enjoyment is for ever, incor 
ruptible and indestructible." 

1 Lit. "is the man s own." 2 Lit. " is not sound in his nature." 

3 Cureton, "for good hope." But j^ClCD XL^ is a common expression 
for "in hope," as in Rom. viii. 20. 



LAEDESAN. 93 

" Avida here," said I to him, " lias also been speaking thus : 
6 It is from his nature that man does wrong ; for, were lie not 
naturally formed to do wrong, he would not do it. " 

"If all men," said Bardesan, "acted alike, 1 and followed one 
bias, 2 it would [then] be manifest that it was their nature that 
guided them, and that they had not that freedom of which I 
have been speaking to you. That you may understand, how 
ever, what is nature and what is freedom, I will proceed to 
inform you. 

" The nature of man is, that he should be born, and grow 
up, and rise to his full stature, and produce children, and grow 
old, eating and drinking, and sleeping and waking, and that 
[then] he should die. These things, because they are of nature, 
belong to all men ; and not to all men only, but also to all 
animals whatsoever, 3 and some of them also to trees. For this 
is the work of physical nature, 4 which makes and produces and 
regulates everything just as it has been commanded. Nature, 
I say, is found to be maintained among animals also in their 
actions. For the lion eats flesh, in accordance with his na 
ture ; and therefore all lions are eaters of flesh. The sheep 
eats grass ; and therefore all sheep are eaters of grass. The 
bee makes honey, by which it is sustained ; therefore all bees 
are makers of honey. The ant collects for herself a store in 
summer, from which to sustain herself in winter ; and there 
fore do all ants act likewise. The scorpion strikes with its 
sting him who has not hurt it; and thus do all scorpions 
strike. Thus all animals preserve their nature: the eaters 
of flesh do not eat herbage ; nor do the eaters of herbage eat 
flesh. 

" Men, on the contrary, are not governed thus ; but, whilst 
in the matters pertaining to their bodies they preserve their 
nature like animals, in the matters pertaining to their minds 
they do that which they choose, as those who are free, 5 and 
endowed with power, and as [made in] the likeness of God. 
For there are some of them that eat flesh, and do not touch 
bread ; and there are some of them that make a distinction 
between the [several] kinds of flesh-food ; and there are some 

1 Lit. " did one deed." - Lit. " used one mind." 

3 Lit. "in whom there is a soul." 4 

6 Lit. " as children of the free." 



94 FRAGMENTS. 

of them that do not eat the flesh of any animal whatever. 1 
There are some of them that become the husbands of their 
mothers, and of their sisters, and of their daughters ; and 
there are some who do not consort with women at all. There 
are those who take it upon themselves to inflict vengeance, like 
lions and leopards; and there are those who strike him that has 
not done them any wrong, like scorpions ; and there are those 
that are led like sheep, and do not harm their conductors. 
There are some that behave themselves with kindness, and 
some with justice, and some with wickedness. 

" If any one should say that each one of them has a nature 
so to do, let him be assured 2 that it is not so. For there are 
those who [once] were profligates and drunkards ; and, when 
the admonition of good counsels reached them, they became 
pure and sober, 3 and spurned their bodily appetites. And there 
are those who [once] behaved with purity and sobriety ; and 
when they turned away from right admonition, and dared to 
set themselves against the commands of Deity and of their 
teachers, they fell from the way of truth, and became profli 
gates and revellers. And there are those who after their fall 
repented again, and fear [came and] abode upon them, and 
they turned themselves [afresh] towards the truth which they 
had [before] held. 4 

" What, therefore, is the nature of man ? For, lo ! all men 
differ one from another in their conduct and in their aims, 5 and 
such [only] as are of 6 one mind and of one purpose resemble 
one another. But those men who, up to the present moment, 
have been enticed by their appetites and governed by their 
anger, are resolved to ascribe any wrong they do to their 
Maker, that they themselves may be found faultless, and that 
He who made them may, in the idle talk [of men], 7 bear the 
blame. They do not consider that nature is amenable to no 
law. For a man is not found fault with for being tall or short 
in his stature, or white or black, or because his eyes are large 
or small, or for any bodily defect whatsoever ; but he is found 

1 Lit. " in which there is a soul." 2 Lit. " let him see." 

3 Lit. " patient," i.e. tolerant of the craving which seeks gratification. 

4 Lit. " in which they had stood." 5 Or " volitions." 

6 Lit. "have stood in." 

7 So Merx, "in eitler Kede." Cureton, "by a vain plea." 



BARDESAN. 95 

fault with if he steal, or lie, or practise deceit, or poison [an 
other], or be abusive, or do [any other] such-like things. 

" From hence, lo ! it will be evident, that for those things 
which are not in our own hands, but which we have from 
nature, we are in no wise condemned, nor are we in any wise 
justified; but by those things which we do in [the exercise 
of] our personal freedom, if they be right we are justified and 
entitled to praise, and if they be wrong we are condemned and 
subjected to blame." 

Again we questioned him, and said to him : (i There are 
others who say that men are governed by the decree of Fate, 
[so as to act] at one time wickedly, and at another time 
well." 

" I too am aware, O Philip and Baryama," said he to us, 
" that there are [such] men : those who are called Chaldseans, 
and also others who are fond of this subtle knowledge, 1 as I 
myself also once was. For it has been said by me in another 
place, 2 that the soul of man longs 3 to know that which the many 
are ignorant of, and those men make it their aim to do [this] ; 4 
and [that] all the wrong which [men] commit, and all that 
they do aright, and all those things which happen to them, 
as regards riches and poverty, arid sickness and health, and 
blemishes of the body, come to them through the governance of 
those stars which are called the Seven ; 5 and that they are, [in 
fact], governed by them. But there are others who affirm the 
opposite of these things, how that this art is a lying invention 
of the astrologers ; 6 or that Fate has no existence whatever, but 
is an empty name ; that, [on the contrary], all things, great 
and small, are placed in the hands of man ; and that bodily 
blemishes and faults simply befall and happen to him by 
chance. But others, [again], say that whatsoever a man does he 
does of his own will, in [the exercise of] the freedom which 
has been given to him, and that the faults and blemishes and 

1 Lit. "this knowledge of art (or skill)." 

2 To what other work of his he refers is not known. 

3 Cureton, " is capable." Dr. Payne Smith (Tlies. Syr. s.v.) says, refer 
ring to O\*7) as used in this passage : " eget, cupit, significare videtur." 

4 So Dr. Payne Smith. Merx renders, " Even that [which] men desire 
to do." Cureton has, " and the same men meditate to do." 

6 Lit. " the sevenths." 6 Lit. " Chaldeeans." 



96 FRAGMENTS. 

[other] untoward things which befall him he receives as punish 
ment from God. 

" For myself, however, according to my weak judgment, 1 
the matter appears to stand [thus] : that these three opinions 2 
are partly to be accepted as true, and partly to be rejected as 
f a ] se accepted as true, because men speak after the appear 
ances which they see, and also because these men see how 
things come upon them [as if] accidentally ; to be set aside as 
fallacious, because the wisdom of God is too profound 3 for 
them that [wisdom] which founded the world, and created 
man, and ordained Governors, and gave to all things the [degree 
of] pre-eminence which is suited to every one of them. What 
I mean is, that this power is possessed by God, and the Angels, 
and the Potentates, 4 and the Governors, 6 and the Elements, and 
men, and animals ; but that [this] power has not been given to 
all these orders [of beings] of which I have spoken in respect 
to everything (for He that has power over everything is One) ; 
but over some things they have power, and over some things 
they have not power, as I have been saying: in order that in 
those things over which they have power the goodness of God 
may be seen, and in those over which they have no power they 
may know that they have a Superior. 

" There is, then, [such a thing as] Fate, as the astrologer? 
say. That everything, moreover, is not under the control of 
our will, is apparent from this that the majority of men have 
had the will to be rich, and to exercise dominion over their 
fellows, and to be healthy in their bodies, and to have things 
in subjection to them as they please ; but that wealth is not 
found except with a few, nor dominion except with one here 
and another there, nor health of body with all men ; and that 
[even] those who are rich do not have complete possession of 
their riches, nor do those who are in power have things in sub 
jection to them as they wish, but that sometimes things are 
disobedient [to them] as they do not wish ; and that at one 
time the rich are rich as they desire, and at another time they 

1 Lit. "my weakness." 2 Or " sects " (ctipiati;). 

3 Lit. " rich." 4 \1^ ,u^ 9, Shlitaue. 

5 pjJDjlD, Medabhrune. Merx, p. 74, referring to the Pesliito of Gen. 
i. 1G, thinks that by the Potentates are meant the sun and moon, and by 
the Governors the five planets. 



BAEDESAN. 97 

become poor as they do not desire ; and that those who are 
thoroughly poor have dwellings such as they do not wish, and 
pass their lives in the world as they do not like, and covet 
[many] things which [only] flee from them. Many have chil 
dren, and do not rear them ; others rear them, and do not 
retain possession of them ; others retain possession of them, 
and they become a disgrace and a sorrow [to their parents]. 
Some are rich, as they wish, and are afflicted with ill-health, 
as they do not wish ; others are blest with good health, as 
they wish, and afflicted with poverty, as they do not wish. 
There are those who have in abundance the things they wish 
for, and but few of those things for which they do not wish ; 
and there are others who have in abundance the things they 
do not wish for, and but few of those for which they do 
wish. 

" And so the matter is found [to stand] thus : that wealth, 
and honours, and health, and sickness, and children, and [all 
the other] various objects of desire, are placed under [the 
control of] Fate, and are not in our own power ; but [that, on 
the contrary], while we are pleased and delighted with such 
things as are in accordance with our wishes, towards such as 

& 

we do not wish for we are drawn by force ; and, from those 
things which happen to us when we are not pleased, it is evi 
dent that those things also with which we are pleased do not 
happen to us because we desire them ; but that things happen 
as they do happen, and with some of them we are pleased, and 
with others not. 

" And [thus] we men are found to be governed by Nature 
all alike, and by Fate variously, and by our freedom each as he 
chooses. 

" But let us now proceed to show with respect to Fate that 
it has not power over everything. [Clearly not] : because that 
which is called Fate is itself [nothing more than] a [certain] 
order of procession, 1 which has been given to the Potentates 
and Elements by God ; and, in conformity with this said pro- 

1 Merx renders ]A_.5^LD by "emanation," quoting two passages from 
Eph. Syr. where the root ]p is used of the issuing of water from a foun 
tain. Dr. Payne Smith says: "The word seems to mean no more than 
cursus: cf. Euseb. Theoph. i. 31. 5, 55. 1, 83. 22, where it is used of the 
stars ; and i. 74. 13, where it means the course of nature." 

a 



93 FRAGMENTS. 

cession and order, intelligences 1 undergo change when they 
descend 2 to [be with] the soul, and souls undergo change when 
they descend 2 to [be with] bodies ; and this [order], under the 
name of Fate and yevecris, 3 is the agent of the changes 4 that 
take place in this assemblage [of parts of which man consists], 5 
which is being sifted and purified for the benefit of whatsoever 
by the grace of God and by goodness has been benefited, and 
is being [and will continue to be] benefited until the close of 
all [things]. 

" The body, then, is governed by Nature, the soul also sharing 
in its experiences and sensations ; and the body is neither 
hindered nor helped by Fate in the several acts it performs. 
For a man does not become a father before the age of fifteen, 
nor does a woman become a mother before the age of thirteen. 
In like manner, too, there is a law for old age : for women 
[then] become incapable of bearing, and men cease to possess 
the natural power of begetting children ; while other animals, 
which are likewise governed by their nature, do, [even] before 
those ages I have mentioned, not only produce offspring, but 
also become too old to do so, just as the bodies of men also, 
when they are grown old, cease to propagate : nor is Fate able 
to give them offspring at a time when the body has not the 
natural power to give them. Neither, again, is Fate able to 
preserve the body of man in life without meat and drink ; nor 
yet, even when it has meat and drink, to grant it exemption 
from death : for these and many other things belong exclusively 
to Nature. 6 

" But, when the times and methods of Nature have had their 



1 Read }D for ]o. 2 Lit. " in their descents." 

3 Or "nativity," "natal hour" (] m \ <. AJ-.O = place of birth, "Geburts- 
haus: " Merx). 

4 Lit. "this agent of change." Cureton, "this alternation." "Das 
diese Veranderung bewirkende Agens" is the rendering of Merx. 

6 Dr. Payne Smith thinks the reference to be to the Gnostic vov;, -^vyx, 
and ffu/xtz, which seem to be spoken of just before. This difficult passage 
is rendered by Cureton : "And this alternation itself is called the Fortune, 
and the Nativity of this assemblage, which is being sifted and purified for 
the assistance of that which," etc. Merx has, " . . . zur Unterstiitzung 
des Dinges, welches . . . unterstutzt worden ist und unterstiitzt bleibt bis 
zur Vernichtung des Weltalls." 

6 Lit. " are Nature s own." 



BARDESAN. 99 

full" scope, then does Fate come and make its appearance among 
them, and produce effects of various kinds : at one time helping 
Nature and augmenting [its power], and at another crippling 
and baffling it. Thus, from Nature comes the growth and 
perfecting of the body ; but apart from Nature, that is by 
Fate, corne diseases arid blemishes in the body. From Nature 
comes the union of male and female, and the unalloyed hap 
piness of them both ; but from Fate comes hatred and the 
dissolution of the union, and, [moreover], all that impurity and 
iasciviousness which by reason of [the natural propensity to] 
intercourse men practise in their lust. From Nature comes 
birth and children ; and from Fate, that sometimes the children 
are deformed, and sometimes are cast away, and sometimes die 
before their time. From Nature comes a supply [of nourish 
ment] sufficient for the bodies of all [creatures] j 1 and from 
Fate comes the want of sustenance, and [consequent] suffering 
in those bodies ; and so, again, from the same Fate comes glut 
tony and unnecessary luxury. Nature ordains that the aged 
shall be judges for the young, and the wise for the foolish, and 
that the strong shall be set over 2 the weak, and the brave over 
the timid; but Fate brings it to pass that striplings are set over 
the aged, and the foolish over the wise, and that in time of 
war the weak command the strong, and the timid the brave. 

" You must distinctly understand 3 that, in all cases in which 
Nature is disturbed from its direct course, its disturbance comes 
by reason of Fate ; [and this happens] because the Chiefs 4 and 
Governors, with whom rests that agency of change 5 which is 
called Nativity, are opposed to one another. Some of them, 
which are called Dexter, are those which help Nature, and 
add to its predominance, 6 whenever the procession is favourable 
to them, and they stand in those regions of the zodiac which 
are in the ascendant, in their own portions. 7 Those, on the 
contrary, which are called Sinister are evil, and whenever 
they in their turn are in possession of the ascendant they act 
in opposition to Nature ; and not on men only do they inflict 

1 Lit. " a sufficiency in measure for all bodies." 

2 Lit. "be heads to." 3 Lit. " know ye distinctly." 

4 Or " heads." 

5 Lit. " agent of change," as above. Merx : " das Veranderungsprincip." 

6 Lit. "excellence." 7 i.e. zones of the earth. See p. 107. 



100 FRAGMENTS. 

harm, but at times on animals also, and trees, and fruits, and 
the produce of the year, and fountains of water, and, [in short], 
on everything that is comprised within Nature, which is under 
their government. 

"And in consequence of this, [namely], the divisions and 
parties which exist among the Potentates, some men have 
thought that the world is governed [by these contending 
powers] without any superintendence [from above]. [But that 
is] because they do not understand that this very thing [I 
mean] the parties and divisions [subsisting among them], 
and the justification and condemnation [consequent on their 
behaviour], belong to that constitution of things founded in 
freedom which has been given by God, to the end that these 
agents likewise, by reason of their self-determining power, 1 
may be either justified or condemned. Just as we see that 
Fate crushes Nature, so can we also see the freedom of man 
defeating and crushing Fate itself, not, however, in every 
thing, just as also Fate itself does not in everything defeat 
Nature. For it is proper that the three things, Nature, and 
Fate, and Freedom, should be continued in existence until the 
procession [of which I before spoke] be completed, and the 
[appointed] measure and number [of its evolutions] be accom 
plished, even as it seemed good to Him who ordains of what 
kind shall be the mode of life and the end of all creatures, and 
the condition of all beings and natures: 

" I am convinced," said Avida, "by the arguments thou hast 
brought forward, that it is not from his nature that a man 
does wrong, and also that all men are not governed alike. If 
thou canst further prove also that it is not from Fate and 
Destiny that those who do wrong so act, then will it be incum 
bent on us to believe that man possesses personal freedom, and 
by his nature has the power [both] to follow that which is right 
and to avoid that which is wrong, and will therefore also justly 
be judged at the last day." 

" Art thou," said Bardesan, " by the fact that all men are 
not governed alike, convinced that it is not from their nature 
that they do wrong? Why, then, thou canst not possibly 
escape the conviction 2 that neither also from Fate exclusively 

1 Or, " power as to themselves." 

2 Lit. " the matter compels thee to be convinced." 



BAEDESAN. 101 

do they do wrong, if we are able to show thee that the sen 
tence of the Fates and Potentates does not influence all men 
alike, but that we have freedom in our own selves, so that we 
can avoid serving physical nature and being influenced by the 
control of the Potentates." 

" Prove me this," said Avida, " and I will be convinced by 
thee, and whatsoever thou shalt enjoin upon me I will do." 

" Hast thou," said Bardesan, " read the books of the astro 
logers 1 who are in Babylon, in which is described what effects 
the stars have in their [various] combinations at the Nativities 
of men; and the books of the Egyptians, in which are described 
all the [various] characters which men happen to have ? " 

" I have read books of astrology," 2 said Avida, "but I do 
not know which are those of the Babylonians and which those 
of the Egyptians." 

" The teaching of both countries," said Bardesan, " is the 
same." 

" It is well known to be so," said Avida. 

" Listen, then," said Bardesan, " and observe, that that 
which the stars decree by their Fate and their portions is not 
practised by all men alike who are in all [parts of] the earth. 
For men have made laws [for themselves] in various countries, 
in [the exercise of] that freedom which was given them by 
God : forasmuch as this gift is in its very nature opposed to that 
Fate emanating from the Potentates, who assume to themselves 
that which was not given them. I will begin my enumeration 
[of these laws], so far as I can remember [them], from the 
East, the beginning of the whole world : 

" Laws of the Seres. The Seres have laws forbidding to kill, 
or to commit impurity, or to worship idols ; and in the whole 
of Serica there are no idols, and no harlots, nor any one that 
kills a man, nor any that is killed : although they, like other 
men, are born at all hours and on all days. Thus the fierce 
Mars, whensoever he is posited in the zenith, does not over 
power the freedom of the Seres, and compel a man to shed 
the blood of his fellow with an iron weapon ; nor does Venus, 
when posited with Mars, compel any man whatever among the 
Seres to consort with his neighbour s wife, or with any [other] 
woman. Kich and poor, however, and sick people and healthy, 
1 Lit. " Chaldseans." 2 Lit. " Chaldaism." 



102 FRAGMENTS. 

and rulers and subjects, are there : because such matters are 
given into the power of the Governors. 

" Laws of the Brahmans ivho are in India. Again, among 
the Hindoos, the Brahmans, of whom there are many thousands 
and tens of thousands, have a law forbidding to kill at all, or 
to pay reverence to idols, or to commit impurity, or to eat flesh, 
or to drink wine ; and among these people not one of these 
things [ever] takes place. Thousands of years, too, have 
elapsed, during which these men, lo ! have been governed by 
this law which they made for themselves. 

" Another Law which is in India. There is also another law 
in India, and in the same zone, 1 prevailing among those who 
are not of the caste 2 of the Brahmans, and do not embrace 
their teaching, bidding them serve idols, and commit impurity, 
and kill, and do other bad things, which by the Brahmans are 
disapproved. In the same zone of India, too, there are men 
who are in the habit of eating the flesh of men, just as all 
other nations eat the flesh of animals. Thus the evil stars 
have not compelled the Brahmans to do evil and impure things; 
nor have the good stars prevailed on the rest of the Hindoos to 
abstain from doing evil things ; nor have those stars which are 
well i located in the regions which properly belong to them, 3 
and in the signs of the zodiac favourable to a humane disposi 
tion, 4 prevailed on those who eat the flesh of men to abstain 
from using this foul and abominable food. 

" Laws of the Persians. The Persians, again, have made 
themselves laws permitting them to take as wives their sisters, 
and their daughters, and their daughters daughters ; and there 
are some who go yet further, and take even their mothers. Some 
of these said Persians are scattered abroad, [away from their 

1 The Greek xhtftet, denoting one of the seven belts (see p. 107 below) 
into which the earth s latitude was said to be divided. The Arabs also bor 
rowed the word. 

2 Or "family." 

3 That is, their own "houses," as below. Each house had one of the 
heavenly bodies as its "lord," who was stronger, or better "located" in 
his own house than in any other. Also, of two planets equally strong in 
other respects, that which was in the strongest house was the stronger. 
The strength of the houses was determined by the order in which they 
rose, the strongest being that about to rise, which was called the ascendant. 

4 Lit. " the signs of humanity." 



BARDESAN. 103 

country], and are [found] in Media, and in the country of the 
Parthians, 1 and in Egypt, and in Phrygia (they are called 
Magi) ; and in all the countries and zones in which they are 
[found], they are governed by this law which was made for 
their fathers. Yet we cannot say that for all the Magi, and 
for the rest of the Persians, Venus was posited with the Moon 
and with Saturn in the house of Saturn in her portions, while 
the aspect of Mars was toward them. 2 There are many, places, 
too, in the kingdom of the Parthians, where men kill their 
wives, and their brothers, and their children, and incur no 
.penalty; while among the Romans and the Greeks, he that kills 
one of these incurs capital punishment, the severest of penalties. 

u Laws of the Geli. Among the Geli the women sow and 
reap, and build, and perform all the tasks of labourers, and 
wear no raiment of colours, and put on no shoes, and use no 
pleasant ointments; nor does any one find fault with them 
when they consort with strangers, or cultivate intimacies with 
their household slaves. But the husbands of these Gelas are 
dressed in garments of colours, and ornamented with gold and 
jewels, and anoint themselves with pleasant ointments. Nor 
is it on account of any effeminacy on their part that they act 
in this manner, but on account of the law which has been 
made for them : in fact, all the men are fond of hunting and 
addicted to war. But we cannot say that for all the women 
of the Geli Venus was posited in Capricorn or in Aquarius, in 
a position of ill luck ; nor can we possibly say that for all the 
Geli Mars and Venus were posited in Aries, where it is written 
that brave and wanton 3 men are born. 

" Laws of the Bactrians. Among the Bactrians, who are 



1 The text adds 

2 Lit. " while Mars was witness to them." 



8 The difficult word o<^ iVn is not found in the lexicons. Dr. Payne 
Smith remarks that it could only come from O \ 1, which verb, however, 

throws away its J, so that the form would be |Q.2ilQ. He suggests, 

doubtfully, that the right reading is j_a..2LllD, from -aL^L3, which is used 
occasionally for appetite, and forms such an adjective in the sense of 
animosus, animd prseditus ; and that if so, it may, like ] i 1 . ^ 1 in Jude 
19 and 1 Cor. xv. 44, 46, be = -^v^tx-oi, having an animal nature, sensual. 
Eusebius and Csesarius have war tow;, a word of similar force. 



104 FRAGMENTS. 

called Cashani, the women adorn themselves with the goodly 
raiment of men, and with much gold, and with costly jewels ; 
and the slaves and handmaids minister to them more than to 
their husbands; and they ride on horses decked out with 
trappings of gold and with precious stones. 1 These women, 
moreover, do not practise continency, but have intimacies with 
their slaves, and with strangers who go to that country ; and 
their husbands do not find fault with them, nor have the women 
themselves any fear [of punishment], because the Cashani look 
upon 2 their wives [only] as mistresses. Yet we cannot say 
that for all the Bactrian women Venus and Mars and Jupiter 
are posited in the house of Mars in the middle of the heavens, 3 
the place where women are born that are rich and adulterous, 
and that make their husbands subservient to them in every 
thing. 

a Laws of the Racami, and of the Edessceans, and of the 
Arabians. Among the Racami, and the Edessasans, and the 
Arabians, not only is she that commits adultery put to death, 
but she also upon whom rests the suspicion 4 of adultery suffers 
capital punishment. 

" Laics in Hatra. There is a law in force 5 in Hatra, that 
whosoever steals any little thing, even though it were worthless 
as water, shall be stoned. Among the Cashani, [on the con 
trary], if any one commits such a theft as this, they [merely] 
spit in his face. Among the Eomans, [too], he that commits a 
small theft is scourged and sent about his business. On the 

^ 

other side of the Euphrates, and [as you go] eastward, he that 
is stigmatized as either a thief or a murderer does not much 
resent it ; 6 but, if a man be stigmatized as an arsenocoete, he 
will avenge himself even to the extent of killing [his accuser]. 

1 Curcton s rendering, " and some adorn themselves," etc., is not so good, 
as being a repetition of what has already been said. It is also doubtful 
whether the words can be so construed. The Greek of Eusebius gives the 
sense as in the text : xoyftovaeti vro h hu xpoca xxi At Qoi; fixpvriftots TOV$ 
I-TTOV;. If (.ft ");> , horses, be masc., or masc. only, as Bernstein gives it, 
the participle should be altered to the same gender. But Dr. Payne Smith 
remarks that Amira in his Grammar makes it fern. Possibly the word takes 
both genders ; possibly, too, the women of Bactria rode on mares. 

2 Lit. "possess." 3 The zenith. 

4 Lit. " name," or " report." 6 Lit. " made." 

6 Lit. " is not very angry." 



BAEDESAN. 105 

" Laws ...... Among 1 ........... boys ..... to us, 

and are not ...... Again, in all the region of the East, if 

any persons are [thus] stigmatized, and are known [to be guilty], 
their [own] fathers and brothers put them to death ; and very 
often 2 they do not even make known the graves [where they 
are buried]. 

" [Such are] the laws of the people of the East. But in the 
North, and in the country of the Gauls 3 and their neighbours, 
such youths among them as are handsome the men take as 
wives, and they even have feasts [on the occasion] ; and it is 
not considered by them as a disgrace, nor as a reproach, because 
of the law which prevails among them. But it is a thing 
impossible that all those in Gaul who are branded with this 
disgrace should at their Nativities have had Mercury posited 
with Venus in the house of Saturn, and within the limits of 
Mars, and in the signs of the zodiac to the west. For, concern 
ing such men as are born under these conditions, it is written 
that they are branded with infamy, [as being] like women. 

" Laws of the Britons. Among the Britons many men take 
one [and the same] wife. 

" Laws of the Parthians. Among the Parthians, [on the 
other hand], one man takes many wives, and all of them keep 
to him only, because of the law which has been made there 
in that country. 

" Laws of the Amazons. As regards the Amazons, they, all 
of them, the entire nation, have no husbands ; but like ani 
mals, once a year, in the spring-time, they issue forth from their 
territories and cross the river ; and, having crossed it, they hold 
a great festival on a mountain, and the men from those parts 
come and stay with them fourteen days, and associate with 
them, and they become pregnant by them, and pass over again 
to their own country ; and, when they are delivered, such [of 
the children] as are males they cast away, and the females 
they bring up. Now it is evident that, according to the ordi 
nance of Nature, since they all became pregnant in one month, 
they also in one month are [all] delivered, a little sooner or a 



1 Eusebius has, TLetp "EAXyja; os x.a.1 ol ootpol epaft-ivovg e^oyrs; ov 

2 Lit. " how many times." 

3 The text of Eusebius and the Recognitions is followed, which agrees 
better with the context. The Syriac reads " Germans." 



10 6 FRAGMENTS. 

little later ; and, as we have heard, all of them are robust and 
warlike ; but not one of the stars is able to help any of those 
males who are born so as to prevent their being cast away. 

tl Tlie Book of the Astrologers. It is written in the book of 
the astrologers, that, when Mercury is posited with Venus in the 
house of Mercury, he produces painters, sculptors, and bankers ; 
but that, when they are in the house of Venus, they produce 
perfumers, and dancers, and singers, and poets. And [yet], in 
all the country of the Tayites and of the Saracens, and in 
Upper Libya, and among the Mauritanians, and in the country 
of the Nomades, which is at the mouth of the Ocean, and in 
outer Germany, and in Upper Sarmatia, and in Spain, and in 
all the countries to the north of Pontus, and in all the country 
of the Alanians, and among the Albanians, and among the Zazi, 
and in Brusa, which is beyond the Douro, one sees neither 
sculptors, nor painters, nor perfumers, nor bankers, nor poets ; 
but, [on the contrary], this decree of Mercury and Venus is 
prevented from [influencing] the entire circumference of the 
world. In the whole of Media, all men when they die, [and 
even] while life is still remaining in them, are cast to the dogs, 
and the dogs eat the dead of the whole of Media. Yet we 
cannot say that all the Medians are born having the Moon 
posited with Mars in Cancer in the day-time beneath the earth: 
for it is written that those whom dogs eat are so born. The 
Hindoos, when they die, are all of them burnt with fire, and 
many of their wives are burnt along with them alive. But we 
cannot say that all those women of the Hindoos who are burnt 
had at their Nativity Mars and the Sun posited in Leo in the 
night-time beneath the earth, as those persons are born who are 
burnt with fire. All the Germans die by strangulation, 1 except 
those who are killed in battle. But it is a thing impossible, that, 
at the Nativity of all the Germans, the Moon and Hora should 
have been posited between Mars and Saturn. The truth is, 
that in all countries, every day, and at all hours, men are born 
under Nativities diverse from one another, and the laws of men 
prevail over the decree [of the stars], and they are governed 
by their customs. Fate does not compel the Seres to commit 
murder against their wish, nor the Brahmans to eat flesh ; nor 
does it hinder the Persians from taking [as wives] their 
1 So Eusebius: a.yjia.iu o. Otherwise "suffocation." 



BARDESAN. 107 

daughters and their sisters, nor the Hindoos from being burnt, 
nor the Medes from being devoured by dogs, nor the Parthians 
from taking many wives, nor among the Britons many men 
from taking one [and the same] wife, nor the Edessssans from 
cultivating chastity, nor the Greeks from practising gymnastics, 
. . . ./nor the Komans from. perpetually seizing upon [other] 
countries, nor the [men of the] Gauls from marrying one 
another ; nor [does it compel] the Amazons to rear the males ; 
nor does his Nativity compel any man within the circumference 
of the [whole] world to cultivate the art of the Muses ; but, as 
I have [already] said, in every country and in every nation all 
men avail themselves of the freedom of their nature in any way 
they choose, and, by reason of the body with which they are 
clothed, do service to Fate and to Nature, sometimes as they wish, 
and at other times as they do not wish. For in every country 
and in every nation there are rich and poor, and rulers and 
subjects, and people in health and those who are sick each one 
according as Fate and [his] Nativity have affected him." 

" Of these things, Father Bardesan," said I to him, li thou 
hast convinced us, and we know that they are true. But 
knowest thou that the astrologers say that the earth is divided 
into seven portions, which are called Zones ; and that over the 
said portions those seven [stars] have authority, each of them 
[over one] ; and that in each one of the said portions the will 
of its own Potentate prevails ; and that this is called [its] law ? " 

" First of all, know thou, my son Philip," said he to me, 
" that the astrologers have invented this statement as a device 
[for the promotion] of error. For, although the earth be 
divided into seven portions, yet in every one of the seven 
portions many laws are to be found differing from one 
another. For there are not seven [kinds of] laws [only] 
found in the world, according to the number of the seven 
stars ; nor yet twelve, according to the number of the signs 
of the zodiac ; nor yet thirty-six, according to the number 
of the Decani. 1 But there are many [kinds of] laws [to be 
seen as you go] from kingdom to kingdom, from country to 
country, from district to district, and in every abode [of 
man], differing one from another. For ye remember what 

1 So called from containing each ten of the parts or degrees into which 
the zodiacal circle is divided. Cf. Halm, Bardesanes Gnosticus, p. 72. 



108 FRAGMENTS. 

I said to you that in one zone, [that] of the Hindoos, there 
are many men that do not eat the flesh of animals, and 
there are others that [even] eat the flesh of men. And again, 
I told you, [in speaking] of the Persians and the Magi, that 
it is not in the zone of Persia only that they have taken 
[for wives] their daughters and their sisters, but that in every 
country to which they have gone they have followed the law 
of their fathers, and have preserved the mystic arts con 
tained in that [teaching] which they delivered to them. And 
again, rememher that I told you of many nations spread abroad 
over the entire circuit of the world, 1 who have not been con 
fined to any one zone, but have dwelt in every quarter from 
which the wind blows, 2 and in all the zones, and who have not 
the arts which Mercury and Venus [are said to] have given 
when in conjunction with each other. Yet, if laws were re 
gulated by zones, this could not be ; but they clearly are not : 
because those men [I have spoken of] are at a wide remove 
from having anything in common with many [other] men in 
their habits of life. 

" [Then, again], how many wise men, think ye, have 
abolished from their countries laws which appeared to them 
not well made ? How many laws, also, are there which have 
been set aside through necessity ? And how many kings are 
there who, when they have got possession of countries which 
did not belong to them, have abolished their established laws, 
and made such [other] laws as they chose ? And, whenever 
these things occurred, no one of the stars was able to preserve 
the law. Here is an instance at hand for you to see [for your 
selves] : it is but as yesterday since the Romans took possession 
of Arabia, and they abolished all the laws previously existing 
[there], and especially the circumcision which they practised. 
The truth is, 3 that he who is his own master is [sometimes] 
compelled to obey the law imposed on him by another, who 
himself [in turn] becomes possessed of the power to do as he 
pleases. 

" But let me mention to you a fact which more than anything 
[else] is likely 4 to convince the foolish, and such as are wanting 

1 Lit. " who surround the whole world." 

2 Lit. " have been in all the winds." 

3 Lit. "for." * Lit. " able." 



BAKDESAN. 109 

in faith. All the Jews, who received the law through Moses, 
circumcise their male children on the eighth day, without 
waiting for the coming of the [proper] stars, or standing in 
fear of the law of the country [where they are living]. Nor 
does the star which has authority over the zone govern them 
by force ; but, whether they be in Edom, or in Arabia, or in 
Greece, or in Persia, or in the north, or in the south, they 
carry out this law which was made for them by their fathers. 
It is evident that what they do is not from Nativity : for it is 
impossible that for all the Jews, on the eighth day, on which 
they are circumcised, Mars should be in the ascendant, so 
that steel should pass upon them, and their blood be shed. 
Moreover, all of them, wherever they are, abstain from paying 
reverence to idols. One day in seven, also, they and their 
children cease from all work, from all building, and from all 
travelling, and from all buying and selling ; nor do they kill an 
animal on the Sabbath-day, nor kindle a fire, nor administer 
justice ; and there is not found among them any one whom 
Fate compels, 1 either to go to law on the Sabbath-day and gain 
his cause, or to go to law and lose it, or to pull down, or to 
build up, or to do any one of those things which are done by 
all those men who have not received this law. They have also 
other things in respect to which they do not [on the Sabbath] 
conduct themselves like the rest of mankind, though on this 
same day they both bring forth and are born, and fall sick and 
die : for these things do not pertain to the power of man. 

" In Syria and in Edessa men used to part with their man 
hood in honour of Tharatha ; but, when King Abgar 2 became a 
believer he commanded that every one that did so should have 
his hand cut off, and from that day until now no one does so 
in the country of Edessa. 

" And what shall we say of the new race of us Christians, 
whom Christ at His advent planted in every country and in 
every region ? for, lo ! wherever we are, we are all called after 
the one name of Christ Christians. On one day, the first of 
the week, we assemble ourselves together, and on the days of the 

1 Lit. " commands." 

2 According to Neander, General Church History, i. 109, this was the 
Abgar Bar Manu with whom Bardesan is said to have stood very high. 
His conversion is placed between 160 and 170 A.D. 



HO FRAGMENTS. 

readings 1 we abstain from [taking] sustenance. The brethren 
who are in Gaul do not take males [for wives], nor those who 
are in Parthia two wives ; nor do those who are in Judea cir 
cumcise themselves ; nor do our sisters who are among the Geli 
consort with strangers ; nor do those [brethren] who are in 
Persia take their daughters [for wives] ; nor do those who are 
in Media abandon their dead, or bury them alive, or give them 
as food to the dogs ; nor do those who are in Edessa kill their 
wives or their sisters when they commit impurity, but they 
withdraw from them, and give them over to the judgment of 
God ; nor do those who are in Hatra 2 stone thieves [to death] ; 
but, wherever they are, and in whatever place they are [found], 
the laws of the [several] countries do not hinder them from 
obeying the law of their [Sovereign], Christ; nor does the 
Fate of the [celestial] Governors compel them to make use of 
things which they regard as impure. 

" On the other hand, sickness and health, and riches and 
poverty, things which are not within the scope of their freedom, 
befall them wherever they are. For although the freedom of 
man is not influenced by the compulsion of the Seven, or, if at 
any time it is influenced, it is able to withstand the influences 
exerted upon it, yet, [on the other hand], this [same] man, 
externally regarded, 3 cannot on the instant liberate himself 
from the command of his Governors : for he is a slave and in 
subjection. For, if we were able to do everything, we should 
ourselves be everything ; and, if we had not the power to do 
anything, we should be the tools of others. 

" But, when God wills [them], all things are possible, [and 
they may take place] without hindrance : for there is nothing 
that can stay that Great and Holy Will. For even those who 
think that they [successfully] withstand it, do not withstand it 
by strength, but by wickedness and error. And this may go 
on for a little while, because He is kind and forbearing towards 
all beings that exist, 4 so as to let them remain as they are, and 
be governed by their own will, whilst notwithstanding they are 
held in check by the works which have been done and by the 

1 For ,_j^__J_;_Q, Merx, by omitting one ., gives ^ 1 >r-Q, " readings." 
But what is meant is not clear. Ephraem Syrus ascribes certain composi 
tions of this name to Bardesanes. Cf. Hahn, Bard. Gnost. p. 28. 

2 Or " Hutra." 3 Lit. " this man who is seen." 4 Lit. " all natures." 



BARDESAN. Ill 

arrangements which have been made for their help. For this 
well-ordered constitution of things 1 and [this] government 
which have been instituted, and the intermingling of one with 
another, serve to repress the violence of [these] beings, 2 so that 
they should not inflict harm [on one another] to the full, nor 
yet to the full suffer harm, as was the case with them before 
the creation of the world. A time is also coming when this 
[propensity to inflict] harm which still remains in them shall 
be brought to an end, through the teaching which shall be 
[given them] amidst intercourse of another kind. And at the 
establishment of that new world all evil commotions shall cease, 
and all rebellions terminate, and the foolish shall be convinced, 
and all deficiencies shall be filled up, and there shall be quietness 
and peace, through the gift of the Lord of all existing beings." 
[Here] erideth the Book of the Laws of Countries. 



Bardesan, therefore, an aged man, and one celebrated for 
[his] knowledge of events, wrote, in a certain work which was 
composed by him, concerning the synchronisms 3 with one 
another of the luminaries of heaven, speaking as follows : 
" Two revolutions of Saturn, 4 60 years; 
5 revolutions of Jupiter, 60 years ; 
40 revolutions of Mars, 60 years ; 
60 revolutions of the Sun, 60 years ; 
72 revolutions of Venus, 60 years ; 
150 revolutions of Mercury, 60 years ; 
720 revolutions of the Moon, 60 years. 

And this," says he, " is one synchronism of them all ; that is, 
the time of one [such] synchronism of them. So that from 
hence [it appears that] to [complete] 100 such synchronisms 
there will be [required] six thousands of years. Thus : 
200 revolutions of Saturn, six thousands of years ; 
500 revolutions of Jupiter, 6 thousands of years ; 
4 thousand revolutions of Mars, 6 thousands of years ; 
Six thousand revolutions of the Sun, 6 thousands of years ; 

1 Lit. " this order." 2 Lit. " natures." 3 The Greek wvoloi. 
4 The five planets are called by their Greek names, Kpwos, *.r.A. 



112 FRAGMENTS. 

1 thousand and 200 revolutions of Venus, 6 thousands of 

years ; 

12 thousand revolutions of Mercury, 6 thousands of years ; 
72 thousand revolutions of the Moon, 6 thousands of years." 
These things did Bardesan thus compute when desiring to 
show that this world would stand only six thousands of years. 



A DISCOURSE OF MELITO, 

THE PHILOSOPHER ; 

WHICH WAS [DELIVERED] IN THE PRESENCE OF ANTONINUS CAESAR, AND [IN 
WHICH] HE EXHORTED 1 THE SAID CJ2SAR TO ACQUAINT HIMSELF WITH 

GOD, AND SHOWED TO HIM THE WAY OF TRUTH. 

HE began to speak as follows : 

"It is not easy," said Melito, "speedily to bring into the 
right way the man who has a long time previously been held 
fast by error. It may, however, be effected : for, when a man 
turns away ever so little from error, the mention of the truth is 
acceptable to him. For, just as when the cloud breaks ever so 
little there comes fair weather, even so, when a man turns 
toward God, the thick cloud of error which deprived him of 
true vision is quickly withdrawn from before him. For error, 
like disease 2 and sleep, long holds fast those who come under 
its influence ; 3 but truth uses the word as a goad, and smites 
the slumberers, and awakens them ; and when they are awake 
they look at the truth, and also understand it : they hear, and 
distinguish that which is from that which is not. For there 
are men who call iniquity righteousness : they think, for 

1 This appears to be the sense intended, and is that given by M. Ren an : 
" Sermo qui factus est." Cureton renders, " Who was in the presence, 
etc.," and supposes that Melito first saw and conversed with the emperor, 
and afterwards wrote this discourse (Melito speaks of it more than once 
as written). This view, however, does not dispose of the fact that Melito 
is here affirmed to have " exhorted (lit. said to) Caesar, etc." It was 
clearly meant to be understood that the discourse (or speech) was spoken : 
the references to writing merely show that it was written, either before or 
after the delivery. 

2 Cureton : " passion." The word )ja_*j ta ^ es both meanings. 

3 Lit. " sojourn beneath it." 



MELITO. 113 

example, that it is righteousness for a man to err with the 
many. But I, for my part, affirm that it is not a good excuse 
[for error] that a man errs with the many. For, if one man 
only sin, 1 his sin is great : how much greater will be the sin 
when many sin [together] ! 

" Now, the sin of which I speak is this : when a man aban 
dons that which really exists, and serves that which does not 
really exist. There is that which really exists, and it is called 
GOD. He, [I say], really exists, and by His power doth every 
thing subsist. This being is in no sense made, nor did He 
ever come into being ; but He has existed from eternity, and 
will [continue to] exist for ever and ever. He changeth not, 
while everything [else] changes. No eye 2 can see Him, nor 
thought apprehend Him, nor language describe Him ; and those 
who love Him speak of Him thus : Father, and God of Truth. 

u If, therefore, a man forsake the light, and say that there is 
another God, it is plain from what he himself says that it is 
some created thing which he calls God. For, if a man call fire 
God, it is not God, because it is fire ; and, if a man call water 
God, it is not God, because it is water ; and, if [he so call] this 
earth on which we tread, or these heavens which are seen by 
us, or the sun, or the moon, or some one of these stars which 
run their course without ceasing by [Divine] command, and do 
not speed along by their own will, [neither are these gods] ; 
and, if a man call gold and silver gods, are not these objects 
things which we use as we please ? and, if [he so call] those 
pieces of Wood which we burn, or those stones which we break, 
how can these things be gods ? For, lo ! they are [for] the use 
of man. How can they escape the commission of great sin, 
who in their speech change the great God into those things 
which, so long as they continue, continue by [Divine] command ? 

" But, notwithstanding this, I say that so long as a man does 
not hear, and [so] does not discern or understand that there is 
a Lord over these creatures, he is not perhaps to be blamed : 
because no one finds fault with a blind man though he walk 
ever so badly. For, in the same manner [as the blind, so] men 
also, when they were seeking after God, stumbled upon stones 
and blocks of wood ; and such of them as were rich stumbled 
upon gold and silver, and were prevented by their stumblings 
1 Cureton : " act foolishly." 2 Lit. " sight." 

H 



114 FRAGMENTS. 

from [finding] that which they were seeking after. But, now 
that a voice has been heard through all the earth, 1 [declaring] 
that there is a God of truth, and there has been given to every 
man an eye wherewith to see, those persons are without excuse 
who are ashamed of [incurring the censure of] their former 
companions in error, and yet desire to walk in the right way. 
For those who are ashamed to be saved must of necessity 
perish. I therefore counsel them to open their eyes and see : 
for, lo ! light is given abundantly 2 to us all to see thereby ; 
and if, when light has arisen upon us, any one close his eyes so 
as not to see, into the ditch he must go. 3 But why is a man 
ashamed of [the censure of] those who have been in error along 
with himself ? Rather does it behove him to persuade them 
to follow in his steps ; and, if they should not be persuaded by 
him, [then] to disengage himself from their society. For there 
are some men who are unable to rise from their mother earth, 
and therefore also do they make them gods from the earth 
their mother ; and they are condemned by the judgments of 
truth, forasmuch as they apply the name [of Him] who is 
unchangeable to those objects which are subject to change, and 
shrink not from calling those things gods which have been 
made by the hands of man, and dare to make an image of God 
whom they have not seen. 

"But I [have to] remark further, that the Sibyl 4 also has 
said concerning them that it is the images of deceased kings 
that they worship. And this is easy to understand : for, lo ! 
even now they worship and honour the images of those of 
CsBsarean rank 5 more than their former [gods] ; for from 
those their former gods both [pecuniary] tribute and produce 

1 Comp. Eom. x. 18. 

2 Cure ton : " light without envy." But the expression resembles the Gk. 
d,(p6ovas, ungrudgingly, without stint. 

3 Lit. " to the ditch is his way." Comp. Matt. xv. 14. 

4 See A. N. Christ. Lib. vol. ii. p. 303, where the following lines are 
quoted by Justin Martyr from the Sylilline Oracles : 

" But we have strayed from the Immortal s ways, 
And worship with a dull and senseless mind 
Idols, the workmanship of our own hands, 
And images and figures of dead men." 

5 Cureton: "those belonging to the Csesars." But the Caesars them 
selves are clearly meant. 



MELITO. 115 

accrue to Caesar, as to one who is greater than they. On this 
account, those who despise them, and [so] cause Csesar s re 
venue to fall short, are put to death. But to the treasury of 
other kings also it is appointed how much the worshippers in 
various places shall pay, and how many vesself uls l of water 
from the sea they shall supply. Such is the wickedness of the 
world of those who worship and fear that /which has no sensa 
tion. Many of them, too, who are crafty, either for the sake 
of gain, or for vainglory, or for dominion over the multitude, 
both themselves worship, and incite those who are destitute of 
understanding to worship, that which has no sensation. 

" I will further write and show, as far as my ability goes, 
how and for what causes images were made to kings and 
tyrants, and [how] they came to be regarded 2 as gods. The 
people of Argos made images to Hercules, because he belonged 
to their city, and was strong, and by his valour slew noxious 
beasts, and more especially because they were afraid of him. 
For he was subject to no control, and carried off the wives of 
many : for his lust was great, like that of Zuradi the Persian, 
his friend. Again, the people of Acte worshipped Dionysus, 3 
a king, because he had recently 4 planted the vine in their 
country. The Egyptians worshipped Joseph the Hebrew, who 
was called Serapis, because he supplied them with corn during 
the years of famine. The Athenians worshipped Athene, the 
daughter of Zeus, king of the island of Crete, because she 
built the town of Athens, and made Ericthippus her son king 
there, whom she had by adultery with Hephaestus, a blacksmith, 
son of a wife of her father. She was, too, always courting the 
society of Hercules, because he was her brother on her father s 
side. For Zeus the king became enamoured of Alcmene, 
the wife of Electryon, who \vas from Argos, and committed 
adultery with her, and she gave birth to Hercules. The 
people of Phoenicia worshipped Balthi, 5 queen of Cyprus, 

1 Cureton : " sacks full." The first word is used of a leathern pouch or 
wallet, as in Luke x. 4 (Peshito) for vyipei. 

2 Lit. " they became." 

3 Cureton, without necessity, reads the word "Dionysius." 

4 Cureton renders " originally." But comp. Judith iv. 3, where the same 
word answers to 

5 Venus. 



116 FRAGMENTS. 

because she fell in love with Tamuz, son of Cuthar king of 
the Phoenicians, and left her own kingdom and came and 
dwelt in Gebal, a fortress of the Phoenicians, and at the same 
time made all the Cyprians subject to King Cuthar. Also, 
before Tamuz she had fallen in love with Ares, and committed 
adultery with him ; and Hephaestus, her husband, caught her, 
and his jealousy was roused against her, and he came and 
killed Tamuz in Mount Lebanon, as he was hunting 1 wild 
boars ; and from that time Balthi remained in Gebal, and she 
died in the city of Aphiki, 2 where Tamuz was buried. The 
Elamites worshipped Nuh, daughter of the king of Elam: 
when the enemy had carried her captive, her father made for 
her an image and a temple in Shushan, a royal residence which 
is in Elam. The Syrians worshipped Athi, a Hadibite, who sent 
the daughter of Belat, a person skilled in medicine, and she 
healed Simi, the daughter of Hadad king of Syria ; and some 
time afterwards, when Hadad himself had the leprosy upon 
him, Athi entreated Elisha the Hebrew, and he came and 
healed him of his leprosy. The people of Mesopotamia also 
worshipped Cuthbi, a Hebrew woman, because she delivered 
Bakru, the paternal [king] 3 of Edessa, from his enemies. With 
respect to Nebo, who is [worshipped] in Mabug, why should I 
write to you ? For, lo ! all the priests who are in Mabug know 
that it is the image of Orpheus, a Thracian Magus. Hadran, 
again, is the image of Zaradusht, a Persian Magus. For both 
of these Magi practised magic at a well which was in a wood in 
Mabug, in which was an unclean spirit, and it assaulted and 
disputed the passage of every one who passed by in all that 



1 Cureton s conjecture of "|^a_^J or ]: * .v i for ] . i .... has been 
adopted. 

2 Some have identified it with Aphek, Josh. xix. 30. The rites observed 
here were specially abominable. 

3 Cureton : " the patrician." Dr. Payne Smith, Thes. Syr. s.u., regards 
the word as equivalent to crarjjjo rij? Koteag, pater civitatis, "a title of 
honour found in the Byzantine writers," and is inclined to think it a term 
belonging to the dialect of Edessa. A similar use of the same adjective is 
quoted from Buxtorf, Lex. Chald. Talm. p. 12: " ivjjx cognomen K. Nach- 
manis, qui a celebritate farnilise sic cognominatus est, quasi Patritiiis." 
This view appears to be supported by the similar use of an adjective for a 
substantive above : " (persons) of Ccesarean rank," for " Caesars." 



ME LI TO. 117 

country in which the town of Mabug is situated ; and these 
Magi, in accordance with what was a mystery in their Magian 
system, bade Simi, the daughter of Hadad, to draw water from 
the sea and pour it into the well, so that the spirit should not 
come up and commit assault. In like manner, the rest of man 
kind made images to their kings and worshipped them ; of 
which matter I will not write further. 

" But thou, a [person of] liberal mind, and familiar with the 
truth, if thou wilt [properly] consider these matters, commune 
with thine own self j 1 and, though they should clothe thee in the 
garb of a woman, remember that thou art a man. Believe in 
Him who is in reality God, and to Him lay open thy mind, and 
to Him commit thy soul, and He is able to give thee immortal 
life for ever, for everything is possible to Him ; 2 and let all 
other things be esteemed by thee just as they are images as 
images, and sculptures as sculptures ; and let not that which is 
only made be put by thee in the place of Him who is not made, 
but let Plim, the ever-living God, be constantly present to thy 
mind. 3 For thy mind itself is His likeness : for it too is in 
visible and impalpable, 4 and not to be represented by any form, 
yet by its will is the whole bodily frame moved. Know, there 
fore, that, if thou constantly serve Him who is immoveable, 
even He exists for ever, so thou also, when thou shalt have put 
off this [body], which is visible and corruptible, shalt stand 
before Him for ever, endowed with life and knowledge, and 
thy works shall be to thee wealth inexhaustible and possessions 

1 Lit. "be (or, get to be) with thyself." Cureton : " enter into thyself." 
The meaning appears to be, " think for thyself." 

2 Cureton: "everything cometh through His hands." It should rather 
be, "into His hands," i.e. "He has power to do everything." See note 1, 
p. 91. 

3 Lit. u be running in thy mind." 

4 The text has i-a.ieA.fl.lQ, which M. Eenan derives from the root -it,_.^ 

and translates " commovetur." This, although correct in grammar, does 
not suit the sense. The grammars recognise the form as a possible Eshta- 

V 

phel of t_ja.,., " tanyere" but it is not found in actual use. Dr. Payne 
Smith thinks the right reading to be > ..AVn ; which gives the re 
quired sense. 



118 FRAGMENTS. 

unfailing. And know that the chief of thy good works is this : 
that thou know God, and serve Him. Know, too, that He 
asketh not anything of thee : He needeth not anything. 

"Who is this God? He who is Himself truth, and His 
word truth. And what is truth ? That which is not fashioned, 
nor made, nor represented by art : that is, which has never been 
brought into existence, and is [on that account] called truth. 1 
If, therefore, a man worship that which is made with hands, it 
is not the truth that he worships, nor yet the word of truth. 

" I have very much to say on this subject ; but I feel ashamed 
for those who do not understand that they are superior to the 
work of .their own hands, nor perceive how they give gold to 
the artists that they may make for them gods, and give them 
silver for their adornment and honour, and move their riches 
about from place to place, and [then] worship them. And 
what infamy can be greater than this, that a man should worship 
his riches, and forsake Him who bestowed those riches upon 
him ? and that he should revile man, yet worship the image of 
man ; and slay a beast, yet worship the likeness of a beast ? 
This also is evident, that it is the workmanship of their fellow- 
men that they worship : for they do not worship the treasures 2 
while they are laid by in the bag, but when the artists have 
fashioned images out of them they worship them ; neither do 
they worship the gold or the silver considered as property, 3 but 
when the gravers have sculptured them then they worship 
them. Senseless man ! what addition has been made to thy 

1 Or, " that which is fixed and invariable." There seems to be a reference 
to the derivation of ]5j_ (truth) from i-,jirmus (stabilis) fait. Cureton 
has strangely mistranslated |OCTI |OO~llO JOOI JJ?, by "that which, 
without having been brought into existence, does exist." The first |OC1 
is nothing but the sign of emphatic denial which is frequently appended to 
(j, and looilQ is the infinitive of emphasis belonging to the second (OCTl. 

2 Cureton: "materials." The printed text has ]lV?V?rD, "drugs." 
The correct reading, there can hardly be a doubt, is "JAklJLcD. 

a Lit. "the property of the gold or silver," if the word JQQ1}QJ is 
rightly taken. Although no such derivative of -ram j s found in the 
lexicons, the form is possible from the Palel of that verb : e.g. 
from ^LO. See Hoffmann, Gram. Syr. sec. 87, 19. 



ME LIT 0. 119 

gold, that now thou worshippest it ? If it is because it has 
been made to resemble a winged animal, why dost thou not 
worship the winged animal [itself] ? And if because it has 
been made like a beast of prey, lo ! the beast of prey itself is 
before thee. And if it is the workmanship itself that pleases 
thee, let the workmanship of God please thee, who made all 
things, and in His own likeness made the workmen, who strive 
to do like Him, but resemble Him not. 

" But perhaps thou wilt say : How is it that God did not so 
make me that I should serve Him, and not images ? In speak 
ing thus, thou art seeking to become an idle instrument, and 
not a living man. For God made thee as perfect as it seemed 
good to Him. He has given thee a mind endowed with free 
dom ; He has set before thee objects in great number, that 
thou on thy part mayest distinguish [the nature of] each thing 
and choose for thyself that which is good; He has set before thee 
the heavens, and placed in them the stars ; He has set before 
thee the sun and the moon, and they too every day run their 
course therein ; He has set before thee the multitude of waters, 
and restrained them by His word ; He has set before thee the 
wide earth, which remains at rest, and continues before thee 
without variation : l yet, lest thou shouldst suppose that of its 
own nature it [so] continues, He makes it also to quake when 
He pleaseth ; He has set before thee the clouds, which by 
[His] command bring water from above and satisfy the earth 
that from hence thou mayest understand that He who puts 
these things in motion is superior to them all, and mayest accept 
[thankfully] the goodness of Him who has given thee a mind 
whereby to distinguish these things from one another. 

Wherefore I counsel thee to know thyself, and to know God. 
For understand how that there is within thee that which is called 
the soul by it the eye seeth, by it the ear heareth, by it the 
mouth speaketh; and how it makes use of the whole body; 
and [how], whenever He pleaseth to remove the soul from the 
body, this falleth [to decay] and perisheth. From this, there 
fore, which exists within thyself and is invisible, understand 
how God also moveth the whole by His power, like the body ; 
. [and] that, whenever it pleases Him to withdraw His power, the 
whole world also, like the body, will fall [to decay] and perish. 
1 Lit. "in one fashion." 



120 FRAGMENTS. 

" But why this world was made, and why it passes away, and 
why the body exists, and why it falls [to decay], and why it 
continues, thou canst not know until thou hast raised thy head 
from this sleep in which thou art sunk, and hast opened thine 
eyes and seen that God is One, the Lord of all, and hast come 
to serve Him with all thy heart. Then will He grant thee to 
know His will : for every one that is severed from the know 
ledge of the living God is dead and buried [even while] in his 
body. Therefore [is it that] thou dost wallow on the ground 
before demons and shadows, and askest vain petitions from that 
which has not anything to give. But thou, stand thou up from 
among those who are lying on the earth and caressing stones, 
and giving their substance as food for the fire, and offering 
their raiment to idols, and, while [themselves] possessed of 
senses, are bent on serving that which has no sensation ; and 
offer thou for thy imperishable soul petitions [for that] which 
decayeth not, to God who suffers no decay and thy freedom 
will be at once apparent ; and be thou careful of it, 1 and give 
thanks to God who made thee, and gave thee the mind of the 
free, that thou mightest shape thy conduct even as thou wilt. 
He hath set before thee all these things, and showeth thee that, 
if thou follow after evil, thou shalt be condemned for thy evil 
deeds ; but that, if after goodness, thou shalt receive from Him 
abundant good, 2 together with immortal life for ever. 

" There is, therefore, nothing to hinder thee from chang 
ing thy evil manner of life, because thou art a free man ; or 
from seeking and finding out who is the Lord of all ; or from 
serving Him with all thy heart : because with Him there is 
no reluctance to give the knowledge of Himself to those that 
seek it, according to the measure of their capacity to know 
Him. 

" Let it be thy first care not to deceive thyself. For, if thou 
sayest of that which is not God : This is God, thou deceivest 
thyself, and sinnest before the God of truth. Thou fool ! is 
that God which is [bought and] sold? Is that God which is 
in want ? Is that God which must be watched over ? How 
buyest thou him as a slave, and servest him as a master? 
How askest thou of him, as of one that is rich, to give to thee, 
and thyself givest to him as to one that is poor? How dost 

1 Or, " of what pertains to it." 2 Lit. "many good things." 



MELITO. 121 

thou expect of him that he will make thee victorious in 
battle ? for, lo ! when thy enemies have conquered thee, they 
strip him likewise. 

" Perhaps one who is a king may say : I cannot behave 
myself aright, because I am a king ; it becomes me to do the 
will of the many. He who speaks thus really deserves to be 
laughed at : for why should not the king himself lead the way 1 
to all good things, and persuade the people under his rule to 
behave with purity, and to know God in truth, and in his own 
person set before them the patterns of all things excellent 
since thus it becomes him to do ? For it is a shameful thing 
that a king, however badly he may conduct himself, should 
[yet] judge and condemn those who do amiss. 

" My opinion is this : that in this way a kingdom may be 
governed in peace when the sovereign is acquainted with the 
God of truth, and is withheld by fear of Him from doing 
wrong 2 to those who are his subjects, and judges everything 
with equity, as one who knows that he himself also will be 
judged before God ; while, at the same time, those who are 
under his rule 3 are withheld by the fear of God from doino- 
wrong to their sovereign, and are restrained by [the same] fear 
from doing wrong to one another. By this knowledge of God 
and fear of Him all evil may be removed from the realm. 
For, if the sovereign abstain from doing wrong to those who 
are under his rule, and they abstain from doing wrong to him 
and to each other, it is evident that the whole country will 
dwell in peace. Many blessings, too, will be [enjoyed] there, 
because amongst them all the name of God will be glorified. 
For what blessing is greater than this, that a sovereign should 
deliver the people that are under his rule from error, and by 
this good deed render himself pleasing to God? For from 
error arise all those evils [from which kingdoms suffer] ; but 
the greatest of all errors is this : when a man is ignorant of 
God, and in God s stead worships that which is not God. 

1 Lit. " be the beginner. 1 

2 Cureton is probably right in so taking the words, although the construc 
tion is not quite the same as in the similar sentence a little below. If so, 

for OTJLlD we must read rn i Vn T 

3 Lit. "hand." 



122 FRAGMENTS. 

" There are, however, persons who say : It is for the honour 
of God that we make the image : in order, that is, that we may 
worship the God who is concealed from our view. But they 
are unaware that God is in every country, and in every place, 
and is never absent, and that there is not anything done and He 
knoweth it not. Yet thou, despicable man ! within whom He is, 
and without whom He is, and above whom He is, hast neverthe 
less gone and bought thee wood from the carpenter s, and it is 
carved and made into an image insulting to God. 1 To this thou 
offerest sacrifice, and knowest not that the all-seeing eye seeth 
thee, and that the word of truth reproves thee, and says to thee : 
How can the unseen God be sculptured? Nay, it is the likeness 
of thyself that thou makest and worshippest. Because the wood 
has been sculptured, hast thou not the insight to perceive that it 
is [still] wood, or [that the stone] is [still] stone ? The gold also 
the workman 2 taketh according to its weight in the balance. 
And when thou hast had it made 3 [into an image], why dost thou 
weigli it ? Therefore thou art a lover of gold, and not a lover 
of God. And art thou not ashamed, perchance it be deficient, 
to demand of the maker of it why he has stolen some of it? 
Though thou hast eyes, dost thou not see ? And though thou 
hast intelligence, 4 dost thou not understand ? Why dost thou 
wallow on the ground, and offer supplication to things which are 
without sense 1 Fear Him who shaketh the earth, and maketh 
the heavens to revolve, and smiteth the sea, and removeth the 
mountain from its place Him who can make Himself like a 
fire, and consume all things ; and, if thou be not able to clear 
thyself of guilt, yet add not to thy sins ; and, if thou be not 
able to know God, yet doubt not 5 that He exists. 

" Again, there are persons who say : Whatsoever our fathers 
have bequeathed to us, [that] we reverence. Therefore, of 
course, it is, that those whose fathers have bequeathed them 

1 Lit. "into an insult of God." So M. Renan, "in opprobrium Dei." 
Cureton, admitting that this may be the sense, renders, "an abomination 
of God," and refers to the circumstance that in Scripture an idol is fre 
quently so spoken of. But |j-l^ is not used in such passages (it is either 

jZ.Q.Pi.L^, or, less frequently, |2.QiDJ.), nor does it appear ever to have 
the meaning which Curetou assigns to it. 

2 Lit. " he." " Lit. " hast made it." . 
4 Lit, " heart." 5 Lit. " be of opinion." 



MELITO. 123 

poverty strive to become rich ! and those whose fathers did not 
instruct them, desire to be instructed, and to learn that which 
their fathers knew not ! And why, forsooth, do the children of 
the blind see, and the children of the lame walk? Nay, it is 
not well for a man to follow [his] predecessors, [if they be] 
those whose course was evil ; but [rather] that we should turn 
from that path of theirs, lest that which befell [our] predeces 
sors should bring disaster upon us also. Wherefore, inquire 
whether thy father s course was good : and, [if so], do thou 
also follow in his steps ; but, if thy father s course was very evil, 
let thine be good, and so let it be with thy children after thee. 1 
Be grieved also for thy father because his course is evil, so 
long as thy grief may avail to help him. But, as for thy 
children, speak to them thus : There is a God, the Father of 
all, who never came into being, neither was ever made, and by 
whose will all things subsist. He also made the luminaries, 
that His works may see one another ; and He conceals Himself 
in His power from all His works : for it is not permitted to 
any being subject to change to see Him who changes not. 
But such as are mindful [of His words], and are admitted into 
that covenant which is unchangeable, they see God so far as 
it is possible for them to see Him. These also will have power 
to escape destruction, when the flood of fire comes upon all the 
world. For there was once a flood and a wind, 2 and the great 3 
men were swept away by a violent blast from the north, but 
the just were left, for a demonstration of the truth. Again, 
at another time there was a flood of water, and all men and 

1 This seems preferable to Cureton s, " and let thy children also follow 
after thee." Had this been the meaning, probably the verb v>l | would 
have been used, as in the preceding sentence, not Ij5. 

2 So the Sibylline oracle, as quoted by Cureton in the Greek : 

"And, when he would the starry steep of heaven 
Ascend, the Sire Immortal did his works 
With mighty blasts assail : forthwith the winds 
Hurled prostrate from its height the towering pile, 
And bitter strife among the builders roused." 
8 Lit. "chosen." The same expression, except that the similar 1fO_l .. 

is used for Ip^.t, occurs Sap. Sol. xiv. 6, as a translation of vKepr.Qxvuv 



yiyuvrav, gigantes superbL See Thes. Syr., s.v. 



124 FRAGMENTS. 

animals perished in the multitude of waters, but the just were 
preserved in an ark of wood by the command of God. So also 
will it be at the. last time : there shall be a flood of fire, and the 
earth shall be burnt up, together with its mountains ; and man 
kind shall be burnt up, along with the idols which they have 
made, and the carved images which they have worshipped; 
and the sea shall be burnt up, together with its islands ; but 
the just shall be preserved from wrath, like as [were] their 
fellows of the ark from the waters of the delude. And then 
shall those who have not known God, and those who have made 
them idols, bemoan themselves, when they shall see those idols 
of theirs being burnt up, together with themselves, and nothing 
shall be found to help them. 

" When thou, Antoninus l Caesar, shalt become acquainted 
with these things, and thy children also with thee, [then] wilt 
thou bequeath to them an inheritance for ever which facleth 
not away, and thou wilt deliver thy soul, and the souls of thy 
children also, from that which shall come upon the whole earth 
in the judgment of truth [and] of righteousness. For, accord 
ing as thou hast acknowledged Him here, [so] will He acknow 
ledge thee there ; and, if thou account Him here superfluous, 
He will not account thee one of those who have known Him 
and confessed Him. 

" These [may] suffice thy Majesty ; and, if they be [too] 
many, yet deign to accept them." 2 

[Here] endetli Melito. 



BY MELITO, BISHOP OF SARDIS. 

FROM THE DISCOURSE ON SOUL AND BODY. 

For this reason did the Father send His Son from heaven 
without a bodily form, that, when He should put on a body by 
means of the Virgin s womb, and be born man, He might save 

1 The MS. has "Antonius." 

2 Cureton, for the last clause, gives " as thou wilt," remarking that the 
sense is obscure. The literal rendering is, " if thou wilt," the consequent 
clause being unexpressed. " If you please, [accept them]," seems what is 
meant. 



MELITO. 125 

man, and gather together those members of His which death had 
scattered when he divided man. 

And further on: The earth shook, and its foundations 
trembled; the sun fled away, and the elements turned back, 
and the day was changed [into night] : for they could not 
endure [the sight of] their Lord hanging on a tree. The 
[whole] creation was amazed, marvelling and saying, " What 
new mystery, then, is this? The Judge is judged, and holds 
his peace ; the Invisible One is seen, and is not ashamed ; the 
Incomprehensible is laid hold upon, and is not indignant; 
the Illimitable is circumscribed, and cloth not resist ; the Im 
passible suffereth, and doth not avenge ; the Immortal dieth, 
and answereth not a word ; the Celestial is laid in the grave, 
and endureth! What new mystery is this?" The [whole] 
creation, [I say], was astonished ; but, when our Lord arose 
from the place of the dead, and trampled death under foot, and 
bound the strong one, and set man free, then did the whole 
creation see clearly that for man s sake the Judge was con 
demned, and the Invisible was seen, and the Illimitable was 
circumscribed, and the Impassible suffered, and the Immortal 
died, and the Celestial was laid in the grave. For our Lord, 
when He was born man, was condemned in order that He 
might show mercy, was bound in order that He might loose, was 
seized in order that He might release, suffered in order that He 
might feel compassion, 1 died in order that He might give life, 
was laid in the grave that He might raise [from the dead]. 



BY THE SAME, FROM THE DISCOURSE OX THE 
CKOSS. 

On these accounts He came to us ; on these accounts, though 
He was incorporeal, He formed for Himself a body after our 
fashion, 2 appearing as a sheep, yet still remaining the Shepherd; 
being esteemed a servant, yet not renouncing the Sonship; 
being carried [in the womb] of Mary, yet arrayed in [the 
nature of] His Father; treading upon the earth, yet filling 

1 *QjoJ seems to be the true reading, not the --K-J of the printed MS. 

2 Or " wove a body from our material." 



126 FRAGMENTS. 

heaven ; appearing as an infant, yet not discarding the eternity 
of His nature; being invested with a body, yet not circum- 
scribino 1 the unmixed simplicity of His Godhead ; being 
esteemed poor, yet not divested of His riches; needing sus 
tenance inasmuch as He was man, yet not ceasing to feed the 
entire world inasmuch as He is God ; putting on the likeness 
of a servant, yet not impairing 1 the likeness of His Father. 
He sustained every character 2 [belonging to Him] in an im 
mutable nature : He was standing before Pilate, and [at the 
same time] was sitting with His Father; He was nailed upon 
the tree, and [yet] was the Lord of all things. 



[FROM THE TEEATISE] OF MELITO THE BISHOP, 
ON FAITH. 

We have collected together [extracts] from the Law and the 
Prophets relating to those things which have been declared 
concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may prove to your 
love that this [Being] is perfect reason, the Word of God ; He 
who was begotten before the light ; He who is Creator together 
with the Father ; He who is the Fashioner of man ; He who is 
all in all ; He who among the patriarchs is Patriarch ; He who 
in the law is the Law ; among the priests, Chief Priest ; among 
kings, the Euler; among prophets, the Prophet; among the 
angels, Archangel ; in the voice [of the preacher], the Word ; 
among spirits, the Spirit ; in the Father, the Son ; in God, God; 
King for ever and ever. For this is He who was pilot to 
Noah ; He who was guide to Abraham ; He who was bound 
with Isaac; He who was in exile with Jacob; He who was 
sold with Joseph ; He who was captain of the host with Moses ; 
He who was the divider of the inheritance with Jesus the son of 
Nun ; He who in David and the prophets announced His own 
sufferings ; He who put on a bodily form in the Virgin ; He 
who was born in Bethlehem; He who was wrapped in swaddling- 
clothes in the manger ; He who was seen by the shepherds; He 
who was glorified by the angels ; He who was worshipped by 
the Magi ; He who was pointed out by John ; He who gathered 

1 Lit. "changing." 2 Lit. "He was everything." 



MELITO. 127 

together the apostles; He who preached the kingdom; He 
who cured the lame ; He who gave light to the blind ; He who 
raised the dead ; He who appeared in the temple ; He who was 
not believed on by the people ; He who was betrayed by Judas ; 
He who was apprehended by the priests; He who was con 
demned by Pilate ; He who was pierced in the flesh ; He who 
was hanged on the tree ; He who was buried in the earth ; He 
who rose from the place of the dead ; He who appeared to the 
apostles ; He who was carried up to heaven ; He who is seated 
at the right hand of the Father ; He who is the repose of those 
that are departed ; the recoverer of those that are lost ; the 
light of those that are in darkness ; the deliverer of those that 
are captive ; the guide of those that go astray ; the asylum of 
the afflicted ; the bridegroom of the church ; the charioteer of 
the cherubim ; the captain of the angels ; God who is from 
God; the Son who is from the Father; Jesus Christ the King 
for evermore. Amen. 



BY MELITO, BISHOP OF (THE CITY OF) ATTICA. 

This is He who took a bodily form in the Virgin, and was 
hanged upon the tree, and was buried within the earth, and 
suffered not dissolution ; He who rose from the place of the 
dead, and raised up men from the earth from the grave below 
to the height of heaven. This is the Lamb that was slain ; this 
is the Lamb that opened not His mouth. 1 This is He who was 
born of Mary, fair sheep [of the fold]. This is He that was 
taken from the flock, and was led to the slaughter, and was slain 
in the evening, and was buried at night ; He who had no bone 
of Him broken on the tree ; He who suffered not dissolution 
within the earth ; He who rose from the place of the dead, and 
raised up the race of Adam from the grave below. This is 
He who was put to death. And where was He put to death ? 
In the midst of Jerusalem. By whom ? By Israel : because 
He cured their lame, and cleansed their lepers, and gave light 
to their blind, and raised their dead ! This was the cause of 
His death. Thou, [O Israel], wast giving commands, and He 
1 Lit. " the Lamb without voice." 



128 FRAGMENTS. 

was being crucified; thou wast rejoicing, and He was being 
buried ; thou wast reclining on a soft couch, and He was 
watching in the grave and the shroud. 1 O Israel, transgressor 
of the law, why hast thou committed this new iniquity, sub 
jecting the Lord to new sufferings thine own Lord, Him who 
fashioned thee, Him who made thee, Him who honoured thee, 
who called thee Israel ? But thou hast not been found to be 
Israel : for thou hast not seen God, nor understood the Lord. 
Thou hast not known, O Israel, that this was the first-born of 
God, who was begotten before the sun, who made the light to 
shine forth, who lighted up the day, who separated the dark 
ness, who fixed the first foundations, who poised the earth, who 
collected the ocean, who stretched out the firmament, who 
adorned the world. Bitter [were] thy nails, and sharp ; bitter 
thy tongue, which thou didst whet; bitter [was] Judas, to 
whom thou gavest hire ; bitter thy false witnesses, whom thou 
stirredst up ; bitter thy gall, which thou preparedst ; bitter thy 
vinegar, which thou madest ; bitter thy hands, filled with blood. 
Thou slewest thy Lord, and He was lifted up upon the tree ; 
and an inscription was fixed [above], to show who He \vas that 
was slain. And who was this ? (that which we shall not say is 
[too] shocking [to hear], and that which we shall say is very 
dreadful : nevertheless hearken, and tremble.) [It was] He 
because of whom the earth quaked. He that hung up the 
earth [in space] was [Himself] hanged up ; Pie that fixed the 
heavens was fixed [with nails] ; He that bore up the earth was 
borne up on a tree ; the Lord [of all] was subjected to ignominy 
in a naked body God put to death ! the King of Israel slain 
with Israel s rio-ht hand ! Alas for the new wickedness of the 

C5 

new murder ! The Lord was exposed with naked body : He 
was not deemed worthy even of covering ; and, in order that 
He might not be seen, the luminaries turned away, and the day 
became darkened, because they slew God, who hung naked on 
the tree. It was not the body of our Lord that the luminaries 
covered with darkness when they set, 2 but the eyes of men. 
For, because the people quaked not, the earth quaked ; because 

1 The Greek y^utjaoxopov. 

2 This is the rendering of dO^> ; but Cureton has "fled," as though he 
read 



MELITO. 129 

they were not affrighted, the earth was affrighted. Thou 
smotest thy Lord : thou also hast been smitten upon the earth. 
And thou indeed liest dead ; but He is risen from the place of 
the dead, and ascended to the height of heaven, having suffered 
for the sake of those who suffer, and having been bound for 
the sake of Adam s race which was imprisoned, and having 
been judged for the sake of him who was condemned, and 
having been buried for the sake of him who was buried. 

And further on : This is He who made the heaven and the 
earth, and in the beginning, together with the Father, fashioned 
man ; who was announced by means of the law and the pro 
phets ; who put on a bodily form in the Virgin ; who was 
hanged upon the tree ; who was buried in the earth ; who rose 
from the place of the dead, and ascended to the height of 
heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. 



BY THE HOLY MELITO, BISHOP OF THE CITY OF 

ITTICA. 

He that bore up the earth was borne up on a tree. The 
Lord was subjected to ignominy with naked body God put 
to death, the King of Israel slain ! 



[The following Fragments of Mdito are translated from the Greek, except 
No. /A ., ichicli is taken from the Latin. ] 

I. 

FROM THE WORK ON THE PASSOVER. 

[In Eusebius, Hist. EccL iv. 26.] 

When Servilius Paulus was proconsul of Asia, at the time 
that Sagaris 1 suffered martyrdom, there arose a great contro 
versy at Laodicea concerning [the time of the celebration of] 

1 He was Bishop of Laodicea, and suffered martyrdom during the per 
secution under M. Aurelius Antoninus. MIGNE. 



130 FRAGMENTS. 

the Passover, which on that occasion had happened to fall at 
the proper season ; l and this [treatise] was [then] written. 2 

II. 

FROM THE APOLOGY ADDRESSED TO MARCUS AURELIUS 
ANTONINUS. 

[In Eusebius, Hist. Eccl I.e.] 

For the race of the pious is now persecuted in a way con 
trary to all precedent, being harassed by a new kind of edicts 3 
everywhere in Asia. For unblushing informers, and such as 
are greedy of other men s goods, taking occasion from the 
orders [issued], carry on their robbery without any disguise, 
plundering of their property night and day those who are 
guilty of no wrong. 

If these proceedings take place at thy bidding, 4 well and 
good. 5 For a just sovereign will never take unjust measures ; 
and we, on our part, gladly accept the honour of such a death. 
This request only we present to thee, that thou wouldst first of 
all examine for thyself into the behaviour of these [reputed] 
agents of so much strife, and then come to a just decision as to 
whether they merit death and punishment, or deserve to live in 
safety and quiet. But if, on the contrary, it shall turn out 

1 The churches of Asia Minor kept Easter on the fourteenth day from 
the new moon, whatever day of the week that might be ; and hence were 
called Quartodecimans. Other churches, chiefly those of the West, kept it 
on the Sunday following the day of the Jewish passover. In the case here 
referred to, the 14th of the month occurred on the Sunday in question. 

2 Migne, not so naturally, punctuates otherwise, and renders, "which 
had happened [then] to fall at the proper season, and on that occasion this 
[treatise] was written." 

3 Migne thinks that by these are meant the orders given by magistrates 
of cities on their own authority, in distinction from those which issued 
from emperors or governors of provinces. 

4 The reference must be to private letters : for in any of the leading cities 
of Asia a mandate of the emperor would have been made public before the 
proconsul proceeded to execute it. MIGNE. 

5 "Etmy x.oe,^us ysvopwov seems to be here used in the sense of XO.-KU? 
alone. The correctness of Migne s translation, recte atque ordine facta 
sunto, is open to doubt. 



MELITO. 131 

that this measure, and this new sort of command, which it 
would be unbecoming to employ even against barbarian foe- 
men, do not proceed from thee, then all the more do we entreat 
thee not to leave us thus exposed to the spoliation of the 
populace. 

For the philosophy current with us flourished in the first 
instance among barbarians ; 1 and, when it afterwards sprang 
up among the nations under thy rule, during the distinguished 
reign of thy ancestor Augustus, it proved to be a blessing of 
most happy omen to thy empire. For from that time the 
Roman power has risen to greatness and splendour. To this 
power thou hast succeeded as the much desired 2 possessor ; and 
such shalt thou continue, together with thy son, 3 if thou pro 
tect that philosophy which has grown up with thy empire, and 
which took its rise with Augustus ; to which also thy [more 
recent] ancestors paid honour, along with the other religions 
[prevailing in the empire]. A very strong proof, moreover, 
that it was for good that the system we profess came to prevail 
at the same time that the empire of such happy commencement 
was established, is this that ever since the reign of Augustus 
nothing untoward has happened ; but, on the contrary, every 
thing has contributed to the splendour and renown [of the 
empire], in accordance with the devout wishes 4 of all. Nero 
and Domitian alone of all [the emperors], imposed upon by 
certain calumniators, have cared to bring any impeachment 
against our doctrines. They, too, are the source from which it 
has happened that the lying slanders on those who profess them 
have, in consequence of the senseless habit which prevails [of 
taking things on hearsay], flowed down to our own times. 5 
But the course which they in their ignorance pursued was set 
aside by thy pious progenitors, who frequently and in many 



1 The Jews. Porphyry calls the doctrines of the Christians 
(typo,. See Euseb. Hist. Eccl. vi. 19. MIGNE. 

2 



8 Commodus, who hence appears to have not yet been associated with 
his father in the empire. MIGNE. 

4 Evxf. 

5 A<> UV XU.I TO TtfS aVKOtyUVTlCli; AoyP tTVVYldsiCf TTSpl TOV$ TOlOVTOVf 



132 FRAGMENTS. 

instances rebuked by their rescripts 1 those who dared to set on 
foot any hostilities against them. It appears, for example, that 
thy grandfather Adrian wrote, among others, to Fundanus, the 
proconsul then in charge of the government of Asia. Thy 
father, too, when thou thyself wast associated with him 2 in the 
administration of the empire, wrote to the cities, forbidding 
them to take any measures adverse to us : among the rest to 
the people of Larissa, and of Thessalonica, and of Athens, and, 
[in short], to all the Greeks. And as regards thyself, seeing 
that thy sentiments respecting the Christians 3 are not only the 
same as theirs, but even much more generous and wise, we are 
the more persuaded that thou wilt do all that we ask of thee. 

III. 

FROM THE SAME APOLOGY. 
[In the Chronicon Alexandrinum."} 

We are not those who pay homage to stones, that are without 
sensation ; but of the only God, who is before all and over all, 
and, moreover, of His Christ, who is veritably God the Word 4 
[that existed] before all time, are we worshippers. 

IV. 

FROM THE BOOK OF EXTRACTS. 

[In Euscbius, l.c.~] 

Melito to his brother Onesimus, greeting : 

As you have often, prompted by your regard for the word 
[of God], expressed a wish to have some extracts made from 
the Law and the Prophets concerning the Saviour, and concern 
ing our faith in general, and have desired, moreover, to obtain 
an accurate account of the Ancient Books, as regards their 
number and their arrangement. I have striven to the best of 

O 1 

my ability to perform this task : well knowing your zeal for 
the faith, and your eagerness to become acquainted with the 

1 EyypotQus. 

2 The reading of Valesius, oov rx, KKVTct ffv^iotKov^ro; os^rw, is here 
adopted. 

3 njO< TOVTM. 4 "QVTUS Qsov Aoyov. 



MELITO. 133 

word, and especially because [I am assured that], through your 
yearning after God, you esteem these things beyond all things 
else, engaged as you are in a struggle for eternal salvation. 

I accordingly proceeded to the East, and went to the very 
spot where [the things in question] were preached and took 
place ; and, having made myself accurately acquainted with the 
books of the Old Testament, I have set them down below, and 
herewith send you [the list]. Their names are as follows : 

The five [books] of Moses Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 
Numbers, Deuteronomy ; Joshua, 1 Judges, Ruth, the four 
[books] of Kings, the two of Chronicles, the [book of the] 
Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon, also called [the 
Book of] Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, Job, [the 
books of] the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, of the twelve contained 
in a single book, Daniel, Ezekiel, Esdras. From these I have 
made my extracts, dividing them into six books. 

V. 

FROM THE CATENA ON GENESIS. 

From Mclito of Sardis. 

In place of Isaac the just, a ram appeared for slaughter, in 
order that Isaac might be liberated from [his] bonds. The 
slaughter of this [animal] redeemed Isaac [from death]. In 
like manner, the Lord, being slain, saved us; being bound, He 
loosed us ; being sacrificed, He redeemed us. ... 

For the Lord was a lamb, like the ram which Abraham saw 
caught in the bush Sabec. 2 But this bush represented the 
cross, and that place Jerusalem, and the lamb the Lord bound 
for slaughter. 

For as a ram was He bound, says he concerning our Lord 
Jesus Christ, and as a lamb was He shorn, and as a sheep was 
He led to the slaughter, and as a lamb was He crucified ; and 
He carried the cross 3 on His shoulders when He was led up [to 
the hill] to be slain, as was Isaac by his father. But Christ 



2 The Hebrew word TpD, lldclcet, is not found as a proper name. 

3 To Zvhov. 



134 FRAGMENTS. 

suffered, and Isaac did not suffer : for he was [but] a type of 
Him who should suffer. Yet, even when serving [only] for a 
type of Christ, he smote men with astonishment and fear. 

For a new mystery was presented to view, a son led by his 
father to a mountain to be slain, whose feet he bound together, 
and laid him on the wood of the sacrifice, preparing with care l 
whatever was necessary to his immolation. Isaac on his part 
is silent, bound like a ram, not opening his mouth, nor uttering 
a sound with his voice. For, not fearing the knife, nor quail 
ing before the fire, nor troubled by [the prospect of] suffering, 
he sustained bravely [the character of] the type of the Lord. 
Accordingly there lies Isaac before us, with his feet bound like 
a ram, his father standing by, with the knife all bare in his 
hand, not shrinking from shedding the blood of his son. 

VI. 

TWO SCHOLIA ON GEN. XXII. 13. 

[In the edition of the LXX. published by Card. Caraffe, 1581.] 
The Syriac and the Hebrew [text] use the word " suspended" 



? as more clearly typifying the cross. 

The word Sabek 3 some have rendered "remission" (a(/>e<?), 
others "upright" (6 />0io9), as if the meaning, agreeing with the 
popular belief, were a goat walking erect up to a bush, and 
there standing erect caught by his horns, so as to be a plain 
type of the cross. For this reason it is not translated, because 
the single Hebrew word signifies in other languages 4 many 
things. To those, however, who ask [the meaning] it is proper 
to give an answer, and to say that Sabek denotes u lifted up " 



VII. 

ON THE NATURE OF CHRIST. 
[In Anastasius of Sinai, The Guide, ch. 13.] 
For there is no need, to persons of intelligence, to attempt to 

1 MET* <77ronBij?. Migne : cum festinatione. 

2 The Hebrew is tn&W, the Syriac {-- |> both meaning simply "caught." 

3 See note on the fragment just before. 

4 Lit. " when translated." 



MELITO. 135 

prove, from the deeds of Christ subsequent to His baptism, that 
His soul and His body, His human nature l like ours, were 
real, and no phantom of the imagination. For the deeds done 
by Christ after His baptism, and especially His miracles, gave 
indication and assurance to the world of the Deity hidden in 
His flesh. For, being at once both God and perfect man like 
wise, He gave us sure indications of His two natures : 2 of His 
Deity, by His miracles during the three years that elapsed 
after His baptism ; of his humanity, during the thirty [similar] 
periods which preceded His baptism, in which, by reason of His 
low estate 3 as regards the flesh, He concealed the signs of His 
Deity, although He was the true God existing before all ages. 

VIII. 



\Ibid. ch. 12.] 

God has suffered from the right hand of Israel. 

IX. 

From The Key. 

Head of the .Lord [His] simple Divinity ; because He is the 
Beginning and Creator of all things : in Daniel. 4 

The white hair of the Lord, because He is " the Ancient of 
Days :" as above. 

The eyes of the Lord the Divine inspection : because He sees 
all things. Like that in the apostle : " For all things are naked 
and open in His eyes." 

The eyelids of the Lord hidden spiritual mysteries in the 
Divine precepts. In the Psalm : " His eyelids question, that is 
prove, the children of men." 6 

Tlie smelling of the Lord His delight in the prayers or works 
of the saints. In Genesis: "And the Lord smelled an odour 
of sweetness." 7 

1 Or, according to Migne s punctuation, " His soul, and the body of His 
human nature." The words are, TO d hnQk *eti d(pyretaro TV; -^V 

x.a.1 TOV aafAKTOs TVS Ktoff hy to? uydpuvtvqs Qvaeag. 

2 Otf ff /6ff. 3 To drite;. 4 Dan. vii. 9, 13, 22. 
* Heb. iv. 13. c Ps. xi. 4. 7 Gen. viii. 21. 



336 FRAGMENTS. 

The mouth of the Lord His Son, or word [addressed] to men. 
In the prophet, "The mouth of the Lord hath spoken ; 51 and 
elsewhere, " They provoked His mouth to anger." 2 

The tongue of the Lord His Holy Spirit. In the Psalm : 
fi My tongue is a pen." 3 

The face of the Lord His manifestation. In Exodus, " My 
face shall go before thee ;" 4 and in the prophet, " The face of 
the Lord divided them." 5 

The ivord of the Lortl[His] Son. In the Psalm : " My 
heart hath uttered a good word." 6 

The arm of the Lord [His] Son, by whom Pie hath wrought 
all His works. In the prophet Isaiah : " And to whom is the 
arm of the Lord revealed?" 7 

The right hand of the Lord that is, [His] Son ; as also 
above in the Psalm : " The right hand of the Lord hath done 
valiantly." 8 

The right hand of the Lord electio omnis. As in Deutero 
nomy : " In His right hand [is] a fiery law." 9 

The wings of the Lord Divine protection. In the Psalm : 
In the shadow of Thy wings will I hope." 10 

The shoulder of the Lord the Divine power, by which He 
condescends to carry the feeble. In Deuteronomy : " He took 
them up, and put them on His shoulders." J 

The hand of the Lord Divine operation. In the prophet : 
" Have not my hands made all these things?" 12 

The finger of the Lord the Holy Spirit, by whose operation 
the tables of the law in Exodus are said to have been written ; 13 
and in the Gospel: "If I by the finger of God cast out 
demons." 14 

The fingers of the Lord the lawgiver Moses, or the prophets. 
In the Psalm : " I will regard the heavens," that is, the books 
of the Law and the Prophets, " the works of Thy fingers." 15 

Tlie wisdom of the Lord [His] Son. In the apostle: 
" Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God ;" 16 and in 

1 Isa. i. 20. 2 Lam. i. 18. 3 Ps. xlv. 1. 

4 Ex. xxxiii. 14. 5 Lam. iv. 16. 6 Ps. xlv. 1. 

7 Isa. liii. 1. 8 Ps. cxviii. 16. Deut. xxxiii. 2. 

10 Ps. Ivii. 1. u Deut, xxxiii. 12. ]2 Isa. Ixvi. 2. 

13 Ex. xxxiv. 1. 14 Luke xi. 20. 15 Ps. viii. 3. 
1G 1 Cor. i. 24. 



MELITO. 137 

Solomon : " The wisdom of the Lord reacheth from one end to 
the other mightily." l 

The womb of the Lord the hidden recess of Deity out of 
which He brought forth His Son. In the Psalm : " Out of the 
womb, before Lucifer, have I borne Thee." 2 

The feet of the Lord [His] immoveableness and eternity. In 
the Psalm : " And thick darkness [was] under His feet." 3 

The throne of the Lord angels, or saints, or simply sovereign 
dominion. 4 In the Psalm : u Thy throne, O God, is for ever 
and ever." 5 

Seat the same as above, angels or saints, because the Lord sits 
upon these. In the Psalm : " The Lord sat upon His holy seat." G 

The descent of the Lord His visitation of men. As in Micah : 
" Behold, the Lord shall come forth from His place ; He shall 
come down trampling under foot the ends of the earth." 7 
Likewise in a bad sense. In Genesis : " The Lord came down 
to see the tower." 8 

The ascent of the Lord the raising up of man, who is taken 
from earth to heaven. In the Psalm : " Who ascendeth above 
the heaven of heavens to the east." 9 

The standing of the Lord the patience of the Deity, by which 
He bears with sinners that they may come to repentance. As 
in Habakkuk : " He stood and measured the earth ;" 10 and in 
the Gospel : " Jesus stood, and bade him be called," n that is, 
the blind man. 

The transition of the Lord [His] assumption of [our] flesh, 
through which by His birth, His death, His resurrection, His 
ascent into heaven, He made transitions, so to say. In the 
Song of Songs : " Behold, He cometh, leaping upon the moun 
tains, bounding over the hills." ] 

The going 13 of the Lord His coming or visitation. In the 
Psalm. 

The way of the Lord the operation of the Deity. As in Job, 
in speaking of the devil : " He is the beginning of the ways of 
the Lord." 14 

1 Sap. viii. 1. 2 Ps. ex. 3. 3 Ps. xviii. 9. 

4 Ipsa regnandi potestas. 5 Ps. xlv. 6 ; comp. Ps. v. xxix. 

6 Ps. xlvii. 8. " Mic. i. 3. 8 Gen. xi. 3. 

9 Ps. Ixviii. 33. 10 Hab. iii. 6. 1] Mark x. 49. 

13 Cant. Cant. ii. 8. 1G Gressus. li Job xl. 19. 



138 FRAGMENTS. 

Again : The ways of the Lord His precepts. In Hosea : 
" For the ways of the Lord are straight, and the just shall walk 
in them." 1 

The footsteps of the Lord the signs of [His] secret opera 
tions. As in the Psalm: "And Thy footsteps shall not be 
known." 2 

The knowledge, of the Lord that which makes [men] to know 
Him. To Abraham [He says] : " Now I know that thou 
fearest the Lord ;" 3 that is, I have made thee to know. 

The ignorance of God* is [His] disapproval. In the Gospel: 
"I know you not." 5 

The remembrance of God His mercy, by which He rejects 
and has mercy on whom He will. So in Genesis : " The Lord 
remembered Noah ;" 6 and in another passage : " The Lord hath 
remembered His people." 7 

The repentance of the Lord [His] change of procedure. 8 As 
in the book of Kings : " It repenteth me that I have made 
Saul king." 9 

The anger and wrath of the Lord the vengeance of the Deity 
upon sinners, when He bears with them with a view to punish 
ment, does not [at once] judge them according to [strict] equity. 
As in the Psalm : " In His anger and in His wrath will He 
trouble them." 10 

The sleeping of the Lord when, in the thoughts of some, His 
faithfulness is not sufficiently wakeful. In the Psalm : " Awake, 
why sleepest Thou, O Lord?" 11 

TJie watches of the Lord in the guardianship of His elect 
He is always at hand by the presence of [His] Deity. In the 
Psalm : " Lo ! He will not slumber nor sleep." 12 

The sitting of the Lord [His] ruling. In the Psalm : " The 
Lord sitteth upon His holy seat." 13 

The footstool of the Lord man assumed by the Word ; or 
His saints, as some think. In the Psalm : " Worship ye His 
footstool, for it is holy." 

The walking of the Lord the delight of the Deity in the 

1 Hos. xiv. 10. 2 Ps. Ixxvii. 19. 3 Gen. xxii. 12. 

4 Nescire Dei. 5 Luke xiii. 25. c Gen. viii. 1. 

7 Esther x. 12. 8 Eerum mutatio. 1 Sam. xv. 11. 

10 Ps. ii. 5. n Ps. xliv. 23. 12 Ps. cxxi. 4. 
13 Ps. xlvii. 8. 



Q UADRATUSAR1STO. 139 

walks of His elect. In the prophet : " I will walk in them, 
and will be their Lord." l 

The trumpet of the Lord His mighty voice. In the apostle : 
" At the command, and at the voice of the archangel, and at 
the trumpet of God, shall He descend from heaven." 2 



QUADKATUS, BISHOP OF ATHENS. 

FROM THE APOLOGY FOE THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. 

[In Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iv. 3.] 

Our Saviour s works, moreover, were always present : for 
they were real, [consisting of] those who had been healed of 
their diseases, those who had been raised from the dead ; who 
were not only seen whilst they were being healed and raised 
up, but were [afterwards] constantly present. Nor did they 
remain only during the sojourn of the Saviour [on earth], but 
also a considerable time after His departure ; and, indeed, some 
of them have survived even down to our own times. 



APJSTO OF PELLA. 

FROM THE DISPUTATION OF JASON AND PAPISCUS. 

"I remember," says Jerome (Comm. ad Gal. cap. iii. comm. 
13), "in the Dispute between Jason and Papiscusj which is 
composed in Greek, to have found it written : ( The execration 
of God is he that is hanged. " 

FROM THE SAME WORK. 

Jerome likewise, in his Hebrew Questions on Genesis, says : 
"In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. The 
majority believe, as it is affirmed also in the Disunite between 
Jason and Papiscus, and as Tertullian in his book Against 
Praxeas contends, and as Hilarius too, in his exposition of one 
of the Psalms, declares, that in the Hebrew it is : In the 
1 Ezek. xxxvii. 27. 2 1 Tliess. iv. 15. 



140 FRAGMENTS. 

Son God made the heaven and the earth. But that this is 
false, the nature of the case itself proves." 

PERHAPS FROM THE SAME WORK. 

... And when the man himself 1 who had instigated them 2 
to this folly had paid the just penalty (says Eusebius, Hist. 
iv. 6), " the whole nation from that time was strictly forbidden 
to set foot on the region about Jerusalem, by the formal decree 
and enactment of Adrian, who commanded that they should 
not even from a distance look on their native soil ! " So writes 
Aristo of Pella. 

FROM THE SAME WORK. 

I have found this expression Seven heavens (says Maximus, 
in Scholia on the work concerning the Mystical Theology r , ascribed 
to Dionysius the Areopagite, cap. i.) also in the Dispute be 
tween Papiscus and Jason, written by Aristo of Pella, which 
Clement of Alexandria, in the sixth book of the Outlines? says 
was composed by Saint Luke. 

CONCERNING THE SAME WORK. 
(Thus writes Origen, contra Celsum, iv. 52.) 

... in which [book] a Christian is represented disputing 
with a Jew from the Jewish Scriptures, and showing that the 
prophecies concerning the Christ apply to Jesus : although his 
opponent addresses himself to the argument with no common 
ability, 4 and in a manner not unbefitting his Jewish character. 



CLAUDIUS APOLLIXAKIS, BISHOP OF HIEEAPOLIS, 
AND APOLOGIST. 



FROM AN UNKNOWN BOOK. 



"This narration (says Eusebius, Hist. v. 5) is given" (it 
relates to that storm of rain which was sent to the army of the 
Emperor M. Antoninus, to allay the thirst of the soldiers, whilst 
1 Barchocbebas. 2 Tbe Jews. 



CLAUDIUS APOLLINAEIS. 141 

the enemy was discomfited by thunderbolts hurled upon them) 
" even by those historians who are at a wide remove from the 
doctrines that prevail among us, and who have been simply 
concerned to describe what related to [the emperors who are] 
the subjects of their history ; and it has been recorded also by 
our own writers. But historians without [the pale of the 
church], as being unfriendly to the faith, while they have re 
corded the prodigy, have refrained from acknowledging that it 
was sent in answer to our prayers. On the other hand, our 
writers, as lovers of truth, have reported the matter in a simple 
and artless way. To this number Apollinaris must be con 
sidered as belonging. Thereupon, he says, the legion which 
had by its prayer caused the prodigy received from the em 
peror a title suitable to the occurrence, and was called in the 
Koman language the Thunder-hurling \_Legion~\? " 

FROM THE BOOK CONCERNING THE PASSOVER. 1 

There are, then, some who through ignorance raise disputes 
about these things (though their conduct is pardonable : for 
ignorance is no subject for blame it rather needs further 
instruction), and say that on the fourteenth day the Lord ate 
the lamb with the disciples, and that on the great day of the 
[feast of] unleavened bread He Himself suffered ; and they 
quote Matthew as speaking in accordance with their view. 
Wherefore their opinion is contrary to the law, and the Gospels 
seem to be at variance with them. 

FROM THE SAME BOOK. 

The fourteenth day, the true Passover of the Lord ; the great 
sacrifice, the Son of God instead of the lamb, who was bound, 
who bound the strong, and who was judged, [though] Judge of 
living and dead, and who was delivered into the hands of sinners 
to be crucified, who was lifted up on the horns of the unicorn, 
and who was pierced in His holy side, who poured forth from 
His side the two purifying elements, 2 water and blood, word 
and spirit, and who was buried on the day of the passover, the 
stone being placed upon the tomb. 

1 This extract and the following are taken from the preface to the 
Clirordcon Paschale. 

qu. c7A^xfi4^c(7;a = " re-purifiers." 



142 FRAGMENTS. 

HEGESIPPUS. 

FRAGMENTS FROM HIS FIVE BOOKS OF COMMENTARIES ON 
THE ACTS OF THE CHURCH. 

L 

CONCERNING THE MARTYRDOM OF JAMES, THE BROTHER OF 
THE LORD, FROM BOOK V. 
[In Eusebius, Hist. Eccl ii. 23.] 

James, the Lord s brother, succeeds to the government of 
the church, in conjunction with the apostles. He has been 
universally called the Just, from the days of the Lord down to 
the present time. For many bore the name of James ; but 
this one was holy from his mother s \\omb. He drank no wine 
or [other] intoxicating liquor, 1 nor did he eat flesh ; no razor 
came upon his head ; he did not anoint himself with oil, nor 
make use of the bath. He alone was permitted to enter the 
holy place : 2 for he did not wear any woollen garment, but 
fine linen [only]. He alone, [I say], was wont to go into the 
temple : and he used to be found kneeling on his knees, begging 
forgiveness for the people so that the skin of his knees be 
came horny like that of a camel s, by reason of his constantly 
bending the knee in adoration to God, and begging forgiveness 
for the people. Therefore, in consequence of his pre-eminent 
justice, he was called the Just, and OUias? which signifies in 
Greek Defence of the People, and Justice, in accordance with 
what the prophets declare concerning him. 

Now some persons belonging to the seven sects existing 
among the people, which have been before described by me 
in the Notes, asked him : " What is the door of Jesus ? " And 
he replied that He was the Saviour. In consequence of this 
answer, some believed that Jesus is the Christ. But the sects 



IKSPX. xyiet. 

3 The reference appears to be to the Hebrew word ijajj, a rising ground, 
which was applied as a proper name to a fortified ridge of Mount Zion. 
See 2 Chron. xxvii. 3. It has been proposed to read sxu^ro 283* xetl 
l&fu.fA [ n/3A/?], o sartv 5/xawof KI Trepio^vj rw hctw. The text, in 
which not only a Hebrew word but also a Greek (A/*;of) is explained 
in Greek, can hardly give the correct reading. 



HEGESIPPUS. 143 

before mentioned did not believe, either in a resurrection or in 
the coming of One to requite every man according to his works; 
but those who did believe, believed because of James. So, 
when many even of the ruling class believed, there was a com 
motion among the Jews, and scribes, and Pharisees, who said : 
" A little more, and we shall have all the people looking for 
Jesus as the Christ." 

They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said : " We 
entreat thee, restrain the people : for they are gone astray in 
their opinions about Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We 
entreat thee to persuade all who have come hither for the day 
of the passover, concerning Jesus. For we all listen to thy 
persuasion ; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee testi 
mony that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do 
thou, therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous 
opinions concerning Jesus : for all the people, and we also, 
listen to thy persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the sum 
mit l of the temple, that from that elevated spot thou mayest 
be clearly seen, and thy words may be plainly audible to all 
the people. For, in order to attend the passover, all the tribes 
have congregated [hither], and some of the Gentiles also." 

The aforesaid scribes and Pharisees accordingly set James 
on the summit of the temple, and cried aloud to him, and said : 
" O just one, whom we are all bound to obey, forasmuch as the 
people is in error, and follows Jesus the crucified, do thou tell 
us what is the door of Jesus, the crucified." And he answered 
with a loud voice : " Why ask ye me concerning Jesus the Son 
of man ? He Himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of 
the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven." 

And, when many were fully convinced [by these words], and 
offered praise for the testimony of James, and said, " Hosanna 
to the son of David," then again the said Pharisees and scribes 
said to one another, "We have not done well in procuring this 
testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, 
that they may be afraid, and not believe him." And they cried 
aloud, and said : " Oh ! oh ! the just man himself is in error." 
Thus they fulfilled the Scripture written in Isaiah : " Let us 
away with the just man, because he is troublesome to us : there 
fore shall they eat the fruit of their doings." So they went up 



144 FRAGMENTS. 

and threw down the just man, and said to one another: "Let 
us stone James the Just." And they began to stone him : for 
he was not killed by the fall ; but he turned, and kneeled down, 
and said : " I beseech Thee, Lord God [our] Father, forgive 
them ; for they know not what they do." 

And, while they were thus stoning him to death, one of the 
priests, the sons of Rechab, the son of Eechabim, to whom testi 
mony is borne by Jeremiah the prophet, began to cry aloud, 
saying: a Cease, what do ye? The just man is praying for 
us." But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff 
with which he was accustomed to wring out the garments [he 
dyed], and hurled it at the head of the just man. 

And so he suffered martyrdom ; and they buried him on the 
spot, and the pillar erected to his memory still remains, close by 
the temple. This man was a true witness to both Jews and 
Greeks that Jesus is the Christ. 

And shortly after Vespasian besieged Judea, taking them 
captive. 

CONCERNING THE RELATIVES OF OUR SAVIOUR. 

[Also in Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iii. 20.] 

There still survived of the kindred of the Lord the grandsons 
of Judas, who according to the flesh was called his brother. 
These were informed against, as belonging to the family of 
David, and Evocatus brought them before Domitian Caasar: 
for [that emperor] dreaded the advent of Christ, as Herod had 
done. 

So he asked them whether they were of [the family of] 
David ; and they confessed they were. Next he asked them 
what property they had, or how much money they possessed. 
They both replied that they had only 9000 denaria [between 
them], each of them owning half that sum ; but even this they 
said they did not possess in cash, but as the estimated value of 
some land, consisting of thirty-nine plethra only, out of which 
they had to pay the dues, and that they supported themselves 
by their own labour. And then they began to hold out their 
hands, exhibiting, as proof of their manual labour, the rough 
ness of their skin, and the corns raised on their hands by con 
stant work. 



HEGES1PPUS. 145 

Being then asked concerning Christ and His kingdom, what 
was its nature, and when and where it was to appear, they 
returned answer that it was not of this world, nor of the earth, 
but belonging to the sphere of heaven and angels, and would 
make its appearance at the end of time, when He shall come 
in glory, and judge living and dead, and render to every one 
according to the course of his life. 1 

Thereupon Domitian passed no condemnation upon them, 
but treated them with contempt, as too mean for notice, and let 
them go free. At the same time he issued a command, and 
put a stop to the persecution against the church. 

When they were released they became leaders 2 of the 
churches, as was natural in the case of those who were at once 
martyrs and of the kindred of the Lord. And, after the estab 
lishment of peace [to the church], their lives were prolonged 
to [the reign of] Trajan. 

CONCERNING THE MARTYRDOM OF SYMEON THE SON OF 
CLOPAS, BISHOP OF JERUSALEM. 

[Also in Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iii. 32.] 

Some of these heretics, forsooth, laid an information against 
Symeon the son of Clopas, as being of [the family of] David, 
and a Christian. And on these charges he suffered martyrdom 
when he was 120 years old, in the reign of Trajan Cassar, when 
Atticus was consular legate 3 fin Syria], And it so happened, 
says the same writer, that, while inquiry was then being made 
for those belonging to the royal tribe of the Jews, the accusers 
themselves were convicted of belonging to it. With show of 
reason could it be said that Symeon was one of those who 
actually saw and heard the Lord, on the ground of his great 
age, and also because the Scripture of the Gospels makes men 
tion of Mary the [daughter] of Clopas, who, as our narrative 
has shown already, was his father. 

[The same historian mentions] others also, of the family of 
one of the reputed brothers of the Saviour, named Judas, as 
having survived until this same reign, after the testimony they 
bore for the faith of Christ in the time of Domitian, as already 
recorded. 



K 



146 FRAGMENTS. 

[He writes as follows :] They came, then, and took the pre 
sidency of every church, as witnesses [for Christ], and as being 
of the kindred of the Lord. And, after profound peace had 
been established in every church, they remained down to the 
reign of Trajan Csesar: [that is], until the time when he who was 
sprung from an uncle of the Lord, the afore-mentioned Symeon 
son of Clopas, was informed against by the [various] heresies, 
and subjected to an accusation like the rest, arjd for the same 
cause, before the legate Atticus ; and, while suffering outrage 
during many days, he bore testimony [for Christ] : so that all, 
including the legate himself, were astonished above measure 
that a man 120 years old should have been able to endure [such 
torments]. He was finally condemned to be crucified. 

. . . Up to that period the church had remained like a 
virgin pure and uncorrupted : for, if there were any persons 
who were disposed to tamper with the wholesome rule of the 
preaching of salvation, 1 they still lurked in some dark place of 
concealment or other. But, when the sacred band of apostles 
had in various ways closed their lives, and that generation of 
men to whom it had been vouchsafed to listen to the Godlike 
Wisdom with their own ears had passed away, then did the con 
federacy of godless error take its rise through the treachery of 
false teachers, who, seeing that none of the apostles any longer 
survived, at length attempted with bare [and uplifted] head to 
oppose the preaching of the truth by preaching "knowledge 
falsely so called." 

CONCERNING HIS JOURNEY TO EOME, AND THE JEWISH SECTS. 

[Also in Eusebius, Hist. Eccl iv. 22.] 

And the church of the Corinthians continued in the orthodox 
faith 2 up to the time when Primus was bishop in Corinth. I 
had some intercourse with these [brethren] on my voyage to 
Rome, when I spent several days with the Corinthians, during 
which we were mutually refreshed by the orthodox faith. 

On my arrival at Rome, I drew up a list of the succession 
[of bishops] down to Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. 
To Anicetus succeeded Soter, and after him [came] Eleutherus. 
But in the case of every succession, and in every city, the state 

1 Toy aarypiov XYipvyftoiTO;* 2 E> ru opdy 



PANTjfiNUS. 147 

of affairs is in accordance with the teaching of the Law and of 
the Prophets and of the Lord. . . . 

And after James the Just had suffered martyrdom, as had 
the Lord also [and] on the same account, again Symeon the 
son of Clopas, descended from [the Lord s] uncle, is made 
bishop, his election being promoted by all as being a kinsman of 
the Lord. 

Therefore was the church called a virgin, for she was not as 
yet corrupted by worthless teaching. 1 Thebulis it was who, 
[displeased] because he was not made bishop, first began to 
corrupt her by stealth. He too was connected with the seven 
sects which existed among the people, like Simon, from whom 
come the Simoniani; and Cleobius, from whom come the 
Cleobiani; and Doritheus, from whom come the Dorithiani; 
and Gorthseus, from whom come the Gortheani; and Mas- 
bothseus, from whom come the Masbothsei. From these [men] 
also come the Menandrianists, and the Marcionists, and the Car- 
pocratians, and the Valentinians, and the Basilidians, and the 
Saturnilians. Each [of these leaders] in his own private and 
distinct capacity brought in his own private opinion. From 
these have come false Christs, false prophets, false apostles 
men who have split up the one church into parts 2 through their 
corrupting doctrines, [uttered] in disparagement of God and of 
His Christ. . . . 

There were, moreover, various opinions in the matter of 
circumcision among the children of Israel, held by those who 
were opposed to the tribe of Judah and to Christ : such as the 
Essenes, the Galileans, the Hemerobaptists, the Masbothsei, the 
Samaritans, the Sadducees, the Pharisees. 



PANT^ENUS, 

AN ALEXANDRIAN PHILOSOPHER. 

[In Extracts from the Prophets, written probably by Theodotus, and col 
lected by Clement of Alexandria or some other writer.] 

" In the sun hath He set His tent." 3 Some affirm that the 
reference is to the Lord s body, which He Himself places in the 
1 Axootlg pXTaiotis. 2 Epspwotv ryjv tvuaiv Tq$ wxhwletS 3 Ps. xix. 4. 



148 FRAGMENTS. 

sun: 1 Hermogenes, for instance. As to His body, some say 
it is His tent, others the church of the faithful. But our 
Panta3iius said : " The language employed by prophecy is for 
the most part indefinite, the present tense being used for the 
future, and again the present for the past." 

[In the Scholia of Maximus on St. Gregory the Divine.] 

This mode of speaking Saint Dionysius the Areopagite 
declares to be used in Scripture to denote predeterminations 
and expressions of the divine will. 3 In like manner also the 
followers of Pantamus, 3 who became the preceptor of the great 
Clement the Stromatist, affirm that they are commonly used 
in Scripture for expressions of the divine will. Accordingly, 
when asked by some who prided themselves on the outside 
learning, 4 in what way the Christians supposed God to become 
acquainted with the universe, 5 their own opinion being that He 
obtains His knowledge of it [in different ways], of things 
falling within the province of the understanding by means of 
the understanding, and of those within the region of the senses 
by means of the senses, they replied : u Neither [does He gain 
acquaintance with] sensible things by the senses, nor with 
things within the sphere of the understanding by the under 
standing : for it is not possible that He who is above all existing 
things should apprehend them by means of existing things. 
We assert, on the contrary, that He is acquainted with existing 
things as the products of His own volition." 6 They added, by 
way of showing the reasonableness of their view : " If He has 
made all things by an act of His will (and no argument will be 
adduced to gainsay this), and if it is ever a matter of piety and 
rectitude to say that God is acquainted with His own will, and 
if He has voluntarily made every several thing that has come 
into existence, then surely God must be acquainted with all 
existing things as the products of His own will, seeing that it 
was in the exercise of that will that He made them." 

< TO GUfAOt TOW KuplOV iV T(i) falto CtVTOV 



2 & =A 4 pa.~ ot. 3 O/ 5T|0i Ha.vra.ivov. 

5 T OUT*. c ft 



KHODO. 149 

K H D 0. 

[In Eusebius, Hist. Eccl v. 13.] 

Wherefore also they 1 disagree among themselves, maintain 
ing as they do an opinion which has no consistency with itself. 
For one of their herd, Apelles, who prides himself on the strict 
ness of his life, 2 and on his age, admits that there is [only] one 
first principle, 3 yet says that the prophecies [have come] from 
an opposing spirit, in which opinion he is influenced by the 
responses of a soothsaying 4 maid named Philumene. But 
others, among whom are Potitus and Basilicus, like Marcion 5 
himself, introduce two first principles. These men, following 
the Pontic wolf, and not being able to discover any more than 
he the division of things, have had recourse to rash assertion, 
and declared the existence of two first principles simply and 
without proof. Others of them, again, drifting [from bad] to 
worse, assume not two only, but even three natures. Of these 
men the leader and champion is Syneros, as those who adopt 
his teaching say. . . . 

For the old man Apelles entered into conversation with us, 
and was convicted of uttering many false opinions. For 
example, he asserted that men should on no account examine 
into their creed, 6 but that every one ought to continue to the 
last in the belief he has once adopted. For he declared that 
those who had rested their hope on the Crucified One w r ould be 
saved, provided only they were found living in the practice of 
good works. But the most perplexing of all the doctrines laid 
down by him was, as we have remarked before, what he said 
concerning God : for he affirmed that there was [only] one 
first principle, precisely as our own faith teaches. . . . 

On my asking him, " Where do you get proof of this ? or 
how are you able to assert that there is [only] one first 
principle ? tell us," he said that the prophecies refuted them 
selves, because they had uttered nothing at all that w r as true : 
for that they were discordant and false, and self-contradictory. 



1 The Marcionites. 2 UoMrsiif. See Migne s note. 

3 Apxqv. 4 AotspcHfuws. 

5 Some copies have "Marcion the sailor" and so Tertullian (de Prxscrip 
tionibus) speaks of him. 

6 Tov hoyoy. * 



150 FRAGMENTS. 

As to the question, " How does it appear that there is [only] 
one first principle ? " he said he could not tell, only he was 
impelled to that belief. On my thereupon conjuring him to 
speak the truth, he solemnly declared that he was expressing 
his real sentiments ; and that he did not know how there could 
be one uncreated God, but that he believed the fact. Here I 
burst into laughter and rebuked him, because he professed to be 
a teacher, and yet was unable to confirm what he taught [by 
arguments]. 



MAXIMUS, BISHOP OF JEEUSALEM. 

FROM THE BOOK CONCERNING MATTER, OR IN DEFENCE OF 
THE PROPOSITION THAT MATTER IS CREATED, AND IS NOT 
THE CAUSE OF EVIL. 

[In Eusebius, Prxp. Evang. vii. 22.] 

" That there cannot exist two uncreated [substances] at one 
and the same time, I presume that you hold equally [with my 
self]. You appear, however, very decidedly to have assumed, 
and to have introduced into the argument, this [principle], 
that we must of unavoidable necessity maintain one of two 
things : either that God is separate from matter; or else, on 
the contrary, that He is indissolubly connected with it. 

" If, then, any one should choose to assert that He exists in 
union [with matter], that would be saying that there is [only] 
one uncreated [substance]. For either of the two must constitute 
a part of the other ; and, since they form parts of each other, 
they cannot be two uncreated [substances]. Just as, in speak 
ing of man, we do not describe him as subdivided into a number 
of distinct parts, each forming a separate created [substance], 
but, as reason requires us to do, assert that he was made by 
God a single created [substance] consisting of many parts, so, 
in like manner, if God is not separate from matter, we are 
driven to the conclusion that there is [only] one uncreated 
[substance]. 

"If, on the other hand, it be affirmed that He is separate 
[from matter], it necessarily follows that there is some [other 



MAXIM US. 151 

substance] intermediate between the two, by which their 
separation is made apparent. For it is impossible that one 
thing should be shown to be severed by an interval from 
another, unless there be something else by which the interval 
between the two is produced. This [principle], too, holds good 
not only with regard to this or any other single case, but in 
any number of cases you please. For the same argument 
which we have employed in dealing with the two uncreated 
[substances] must in like manner be valid if the substances [in 
question] be given as three. For in regard to these also I 
should [have to] inquire whether they are separate from one 
another, or whether, on the contrary, each of them is united 
to its fellow. For, if you should say that they are united, you 
would hear from me the same argument as before; but if, 
on the contrary, you should say that they are separate, you 
could not escape the unavoidable assumption of a separating 
[medium]. 

" If, again, perchance any one should think that there is a 
third view which may be consistently maintained with regard 
to uncreated [substances], namely, that God is not separate 
from matter, nor yet, on the other hand, united to it as a 
part, but that God exists in matter as in a place, or possibly 
matter exists in God, let such a person observe the conse 
quence : 

" That, if we make matter God s place, we must of necessity 
admit that He can be contained, 1 and that He is circumscribed 
by matter. Nay, further, he must grant that He is, in the 
same way as matter, driven about hither and thither, unable 
to maintain His place and to stay where He is, since that in 
which He exists is perpetually being driven about in one 
direction or another. Beside this, he must also admit that God 
has had His place among the worse [kind of elements]. For if 
matter was once in disorder, and if He reduced it to order for 
the purpose of rendering it better, there was a time when God 
existed among [the] disordered [elements of matter]. 

"I might also fairly put this question : whether God filled the 
whole of matter, or was in some part of it. If any one should 
choose to say that God was in some part of matter, he would 
be making Him indefinitely smaller than matter, inasmuch as a 
ov, the reading of one MS., instead 



152 FRAGMENTS. 

part of it contained the whole of Him ; l but, if he maintained 
that He pervaded the whole of matter, I need to be informed 
how He became the Fashioner of this [matter]. For we must 
necessarily assume, either that there was on the part of God a 
contraction, so to speak, 2 of Himself, [and a withdrawal from 
matter], whereupon He proceeded to fashion that from which 
He had retired; or else that He fashioned Himself in con 
junction with matter, in consequence of having no place to 
retire to. 

" But suppose it to be maintained, on the other hand, that 
matter is in God, it will behove us similarly to inquire, whether 
we are to understand by this that He is sundered from Himself, 
and that, just like the air, which contains [various] kinds of 
animals, so is He sundered and divided into parts for the 
reception of those [creatures] which from time to time exist in 3 
Him ; or whether [matter is in God] as in a place, for instance, 
as water is contained in earth. For should we say c as in air, 
we should perforce be speaking of God as divisible into parts ; 
but if i as water in earth, and if matter was, [as is admitted], 
in confusion and disorder, and moreover also contained what 
w r as evil, we should have to admit that God is the place of 
disorder and evil. But this it does not seem to me consistent 
with reverence to say, but hazardous rather. For you contend 
that matter is uncreated, 4 that you may not have to admit that 
God is the author of evil ; and yet, while aiming to escape this 
[difficulty], you make Him the receptacle of evil. 

"If you had stated that your suspicion that matter was 
uncreated arose from the nature of created things as we find 
them, 5 I should have employed abundant argument in proof 
that it cannot be so. But, since you have spoken of the 
existence of evil as the cause of such suspicion, I am disposed 
to enter upon a [separate] examination of this point. For, 
when once it has been made clear how it is that evil exists, and 
when it is seen to be impossible to deny that God is the author 
of evil, in consequence of His having had recourse to matter for 

1 For g/ <$ ftspo; a-inyg, ohoy l-fcuprtotv uiiroy, Migne reads, &? */s (or si Ssj) 
ftspo; a,VTq$ ohoy, K.T.h. 

2 2y<7ToA /;z/ rivoi. 3 Tuy yiuoftsuay [I:/] otvTu, Migne. 
4 This word, oi-yivv/iToy, is added from Migue s conjecture. 

Ex. Tuy i>7roo7a,yTuy ysv/iTUV, 



MAXIM VS. 153 

His materials, 1 it seems to me that a suspicion of this kind 
disappears. 

"You assert, then, that matter, destitute of all qualities [good 
or had], co-existed at the outset with God, and that out of it 
He fashioned the world as we now find it." 

" Such is my opinion." 

" Well, then, if matter was without any qualities, and the 
world has come into existence from God, and if the world 
possesses qualities, the author of those qualities must be God." 

"Exactly so." 

tt Since, too, I heard you say yourself just now that out of 
nothing 2 nothing can possibly come, give me an answer to the 
question I am about to ask you. You seem to me to think that 
the qualities of the world have not sprung from pre-existing 3 
qualities, and moreover that they are something different from 
the substances [themselves]." 

"I do." 

" If, therefore, God did not produce the qualities [in question] 
from qualities already existing, nor yet from substances, by 
reason that they are not substances, the conclusion is inevitable, 
that they were made by God out of nothing. So that you 
seemed to me to affirm more than you were warranted to do, 
[when you said] that it had been proved impossible to hold the 
opinion 4 that anything was made by God out of nothing. 

" But let us put the matter thus. We see persons among 
ourselves making certain things out of nothing, however true it 
may be that they make them by means of something. 5 Let us 
take our illustration, say, from builders. These men do not 
make cities out of cities ; nor, similarly, temples out of temples. 
Nay, if you suppose that, because the substances [necessary] 
for these [constructions] are already provided, therefore they 
make them out of that which already exists, your reasoning is 
fallacious. For it is not the substance that makes the city or 
the temples, but the art which is employed about the substance. 

1 Ex, roll v hfiv CIVTOV vnon6syotl. 2 Ef ovx, Surav. Z Yvoxsipsyav. 

4 For avhfo ho yiaTctt uc, ovx. dovvctrov flvoti $o%eigeii/ 9 Migne reads, as 
c-yTiTveAoyfffTflt/ d^vvctrov tiv&i QO^X^SCJ. 

5 Lit. " in something." Whether the materials or the art is meant is 
not very clear. Possibly there is a play of words in the use of the tv/o 
prepositions, tx. and iv. 



154 FRAGMENTS. 

Neither, [again], does the art proceed from any art inhering in 
the substances, but it arises independently of any such art in 
them. 

" But I fancy you will meet the argument by saying that the 
artist produces the art which is [manifest] in the substance [he 
has fashioned] out of the art which he [himself already] has. In 
reply to this, however, I think it may be fairly said, that neither 
in man does art spring from any already existing art. For we 
cannot possibly allow that art exists by itself, since it belongs 
to the class of things which are accidentals, and which receive 
their existence only when they appear in [connection with] 
substance. For man will exist though there should be no 
architecture, but the latter will have no existence unless there 
be first of all man. Thus we cannot avoid the conclusion, that 
it is the nature of art to spring up in man out of nothing. If, 
then, we have shown that this is the case with man, we surely 
must allow that God can make not only the qualities [of sub 
stances] out of nothing, but also the substances [themselves]. 
For, if it appears possible that anything [whatever] can be 
made out of nothing, it is proved that this may be the case 
with substances also. 

" But, since you are specially desirous of inquiring about the 
origin of evil, I will proceed to the discussion of this topic. 
And I should like to ask you a few questions. Is it your 
opinion that things evil are substances, or that they are qualities 
of substances?" 

" Qualities of substances, I am disposed to say." 

" But matter was destitute of qualities and of form : this I 
assumed at the outset of the discussion. Therefore, if things 
evil are qualities of substances, and matter was destitute of 
qualities, and you have called God the author of qualities, God 
will also be the former of that which is evil. Since, then, it 
is not possible, on this supposition any more than on the other, 
to speak of God as not the cause of evil, it seems to me 
superfluous to add matter to Him, [as if that were the cause of 
evil]. If you have any reply to make to this, begin your 
argument." 

" If, indeed, our discussion had arisen from a love of conten 
tion, I should not be willing to have the inquiry raised a second 
time about [the origin of] evil ; but, since we are prompted 



MAXIMUS. 155 

rather by friendship and the good of our neighbour to engage 
in controversy, I readily consent to have the question raised 
afresh on this subject. You have no doubt long been aware 
of the character of my mind, and of the object at which I aim 
in dispute : that I have no wish to vanquish falsehood by 
plausible reasoning, but rather that truth should be established 
in connection with thorough investigation. You yourself, too, 
are of the same mind, I am well assured. Whatever method, 
therefore, you deem successful for the discovery of truth, do 
not shrink from using it. For, by following a better course of 
argument, you will not only confer a benefit on yourself, but 
most assuredly on me also, [instructing me] concerning matters 
of which I am ignorant." 

" You seem clearly to agree with * me, that things evil are in 
some sort substances : 2 for, apart from substances, I do not see 
them to have any existence. Since, then, my good friend, you 
say that things evil are substances, it is necessary to inquire into 
the nature of substance. Is it your opinion that substance is a 
kind of bodily structure?" 3 

"It is." 

" And does that bodily structure exist by itself, without the 
need of any one to come and give it existence I " 

Yes." 

" And does it seem to you that things evil are connected with 
certain [courses of] action? " 

" That is my belief." 

" And do actions come into existence only when an actor is 
there?" 

"Yes." 

"And, when there is no actor, neither will his action ever take 
place?" 

It will not." 

" If, therefore, substance is a kind of bodily structure, and 
this does not stand in need of some one in and through whom 
it may receive its existence, and if things evil are actions of 
some one, and actions require some one in and through whom 
they receive their existence, things evil will not be substances. 



1 Migne, instead of vetpetvr^yoti, conjectures Ku.pwrwu.t, which, however, 
would not suit what appears to be the meaning. 

2 Ovffiois Ttvoi$. 3 HHaf&otrrntfo n 



156 FRAGMENTS. 

And if things evil are not substances, and murder is an evil, 
[and] is the action of some one, it follows that murder is not a 
substance. But, if you insist that agents are substance, then I 
myself agree with you. A man, for instance, who is a murderer, 
is, in so far as he is a man, a substance ; but the murder which 
he commits is not a substance, but a work of the substance. 
Moreover, we speak of a man sometimes as bad because he 
commits murder; and sometimes, again, because he performs 
acts of beneficence, as good : and these names adhere to the 
substance, in consequence of the things which are accidents of 
it, which, [however], are not [the substance] itself. For neither 
is the substance murder, nor, again, is it adultery, nor is it any 
[other] similar evil. But, just as the grammarian derives his 
name from grammar, and the orator from oratory, and the 
physician from physic, though the substance is not physic, nor 
yet oratory, nor grammar, but receives its appellation from the 
things which are accidents of it, from which it popularly receives 
its name, though it is not any one of them, so in like manner 
it appears to me that the substance receives name from things 
regarded as evil, though it is not [itself] any one of them. 

"I must beg you also to consider that, if you represent some 
other being as the cause of evil to men, he also, in so far as he 
acts in them, and incites them to do evil, is himself evil, by 
reason of the things he does. For he too is said to be evil, for 
the simple reason that he is the doer of evil things ; but the 
things which a being does are not the being himself, but his 
actions, from which he receives his appellation, and is called 
evil. For if we should say that the things he does are himself, 
and these consist in murder, and adultery, and theft, and such 
like, these things will be himself. And if these things are 
himself, and if when they take place they get to have a sub 
stantial existence, 1 but by not taking place they also cease to 
exist, and if these things are done by men, men will be the 
doers of these things, and the causes of existing and of no 
longer existing. But, if you affirm that these things are his 
actions, he gets to be evil from the things he does, not from 
those things of which the substance [of him] consists. 

" Moreover, we have said that he is called evil from those 
things which are accidents of the substance, which are not 



MAXIM US. 157 

[themselves] the substance : as a physician from the art of 
physic. But, if he receives the beginning of his existence from 
the actions he performs, he too began to be evil, and these evil 
things likewise began to exist. And, if so, an evil being will 
not be without a beginning, nor will evil things be unoriginated, 
since we have said that they are originated by him." 

" The argument relating to the opinion I before expressed, 
you seem to me, my friend, to have handled satisfactorily : for, 
from the premisses you assumed in the discussion, I think you 
have drawn a fair conclusion. For, beyond doubt, if matter was 
[at first] destitute of qualities, and if God is the fashioner of the 
qualities [it now has], and if evil things are qualities, God is 
the author of those evil things. The argument, then, relating 
to that [opinion] we may consider as well discussed, and to me 
it [now] seems false to speak of matter as destitute of qualities. 
For it is not possible to say of any substance l whatsoever that 
it is without qualities. For, in the very act of saying that it is 
destitute of qualities, you do [in fact] indicate its quality, repre 
senting of what kind matter is, which of course is [ascribing to 
it] a species of quality. Wherefore, if it is agreeable to you, 
rehearse the argument to me from the beginning : for, to me, 
matter seems to have had qualities from all eternity. 2 For 
in this way I [can] affirm that evil things also come from it in 
the way of emanation, so that the cause of evil things may not 
be ascribed to God, but that matter may be [regarded as] the 
cause of all such things." 

" I approve your desire, my friend, and praise the zeal you 
manifest in the discussion of opinions. For it assuredly becomes 
every one who is desirous of knowledge, not simply and out of 
hand to agree with what is said, but to make a careful exa 
mination of the arguments [adduced]. For, though a disputant, 
by laying down false premisses, may make his opponent draw 
the conclusion he wishes, yet he will not convince a hearer of 
this; but only when he says that which 3 it seems possible to 
say with fairness. So that one of two things will happen : 
either he will, as he listens, be decisively helped to reach that 
[conclusion] towards which he [already] feels himself impelled, 
or he will convict his adversary of not speaking the truth. 

1 Migne reads ova let; for etlrixs- 

3 Reading, with Migne, si o n for ii rt. 



158 FRAGMENTS. 

" Now, it seems to me that you have not sufficiently discussed 
the statement that matter has qualities from the first. For, if 
this is the case, what will God be the maker of ? For, if we 
speak of substances, we affirm these to exist beforehand ; or if 
again of qualities, we declare these also to exist already. Since, 
therefore, both substance and qualities exist, it seems to me 
unreasonable to call God a creator. 

"But, lest I should seem to be constructing an argument 
[to suit my purpose], be so good as to answer the question : 
In what way do you assert God to be a creator ? Is He such 
because He changed the substances, so that they should no 
longer be the same as they had once been, but become different 
from what they were ; or because, while He kept the substances 
the same as they were before that period, He changed their 
qualities ? " 

" I do not at all think that any alteration took place in sub 
stances : for it appears to me absurd to say this. But I affirm 
that a certain change was made in their qualities ; and it is in 
respect of these that I speak of God as a creator. Just as we 
might happen to speak of a house as made out of stones, in 
which case we could not say that the stones no longer continue 
to be stones as regards their substance, now that they are made 
into a house (for I affirm that the house owes its existence 
to the quality of its construction, forasmuch as the previous 
quality of the stones has been changed), so does it seem to me 
that God, while the substance remains [the same], has made 
a certain change in its qualities ; and it is in respect of such 
change that I speak of the origin of this world as having come 
from God." 

" Since, then, you maintain that a certain change namely, 
of qualities has been produced by God, answer me briefly what 
I am desirous to ask you." 

" Proceed, pray, with your question." 

" Do you agree in the opinion that evil things are qualities 
of substances ? " 

I do." 

" Were these qualities in matter from the first, or did they 
begin to be?" 

" I hold that these qualities existed in combination with 
matter, without being originated." 



MAXIMUS. 159 

" But do you not affirm that God has made a certain change 
in the qualities I " 

" That is what I affirm." 

" For the better, or for the worse ? " 

" For the better, I should say." 

" Well, then, if evil things are qualities of matter, and if the 
Lord [of all] changed its qualities for the better, whence, it 
behoves us to ask, come evil things ? For either the qualities 
remained the same in their nature as they previously were, or, if 
they were not evil before, but you assert that, in consequence 
of a change wrought on them by God, the first qualities of this 
kind came into existence in connection with matter, God will 
be the author of evil, inasmuch as He changed the qualities 
which were not evil, so as to make them evil. 

" Possibly, however, it is not your view that God changed evil 
qualities for the better; but you mean that all those other quali 
ties which happened to be neither good nor bad, 1 were changed 
by God with a view to the adornment [of the creation]." 

" That has been my opinion from the outset." 

" How, then, can you say that He has left the qualities of bad 
things just as they were ? Is it that, although He was able to 
destroy those qualities as well as the others, He was not willing ; 
or [did He refrain] because He had not the power? For, if 
you say that He had the power, but not the will, you must 
admit Him to be the cause of these [qualities] : since, when 
He could have put a stop to the existence of evil, He chose to 
let it remain as it was, and that, too, at the very time when He 
began to fashion matter. For, if He had not concerned Him 
self at all with matter, He would not have been the cause of 
those things which He allowed to remain. But, seeing that He 
fashioned a certain part of it, and left a certain part as we 
have described it, although He could have changed that also 
for the better, it seems to me that He deserves to have the 
blame cast on Him, for having permitted a part of matter to 
be evil, to the ruin of that [other] part which He fashioned. 

" Nay, more, it seems to me that the most serious wrong has 

been committed as regards this part, in that He constituted this 

part of matter so as to be now affected by evil. For, if we 

were to examine carefully into things, we should find that the 

1 Or " indifferent : " d 



ICO FRAGMENTS. 

condition of matter is worse now than in its former state, before 
it was reduced to order. For, before it was separated into 
parts, it had no sense of evil ; but now every one of its parts is 
afflicted with a sense of evil. 

" Take an illustration from man. Before he was fashioned, 
and became a living being through the art of the Creator, he 
was by nature exempt from any contact whatever with evil ; 
but, as soon as ever he was made by God a man, he became 
liable to the sense of even approaching evil : and thus that very 
thing which you say was brought about by God for the benefit 
of matter, 1 is found to have turned out rather to its detriment. 

"But, if you say that evil has not been put a stop to, 
-because God was unable to do away with it, you will be making 
God powerless. But, if He is powerless, it will be either 
because He is weak by nature, or because He is overcome by 
fear, and reduced to subjection by a stronger. If, then, you 
go so far as to say that God is weak by nature, it seems to 
me that you imperil your salvation itself ; but, if [you say that 
He is weak] through being overcome by the fear of a greater, 
things evil will be greater than God, since they frustrate the 
carrying out of His purpose. But this, as it seems to me, it 
would be absurd to say of God. For why should not then 
rather be [considered] gods, since according to your account 
they are able to overcome God : if, that is to say, we mean by 
God that which has a controlling power over all things ? 

" But I wish to ask you a few questions concerning matter 
itself. Pray tell me, therefore, whether matter was something 
simple or compound. I am induced to adopt this method of 
investigating the subject before us by [considering] the diver 
sity that obtains in existing things. For, if perchance matter 
was something simple and uniform, how comes it that the 
world is compound, 2 and consists of divers substances and 
combinations ? For by compound we denote a mixture of 
certain simple [elements]. But if, on the contrary, you prefer 
to call matter compound, you will, of course, be asserting that 
it is compounded of certain simple elements. And, if it was 
compounded of simple elements, these simple elements must 

Migne reads STT evef/eaiotfoT larlv susp /tcia. 

2 The text has, ovvOsrog Be o %6ffpo$ ; which Migne changes to, vus o;} 
9Vii6(TOg ftjTiv 6 



MAXIMUS. ici 

have existed at some time or other separately by themselves, 
and when they were compounded together matter came into 
being : from which it of course follows that matter is created. 
For, if matter is compound, and compound things are consti 
tuted from simple, there was once a time when matter had no 
existence, namely, before the simple elements came together. 
And, if there was once a time when matter was not, and there 
was never a time when the uncreated was not, matter cannot 
be uncreated. And hence there will be many uncreated [sub 
stances]. For, if God was uncreated, and the simple elements 
out of which matter was compounded [were also uncreated], 
there will not be two uncreated things only, not to discuss the 
question what it is which constitutes objects simple, whether 
matter or form. 

" Is it, further, your opinion that nothing in existence is 
opposed to itself ? " 

"It is." 

" Is water, then, opposed to fire?" 

u So it appears to me." 

" Similarly, is darkness opposed to light, and warm to cold, 
and moreover moist to dry?" 

lt It seems to me to be so." 

" Well, then, if nothing in existence is opposed to itself, and 
these things are opposed to each other, they cannot be one and 
the same matter ; no, nor yet be made out of one and the same 
matter. 

" I wish further to ask your opinion on a matter kindred to 
that of which we have been speaking. Do you believe that the 
parts [of a thine;] are not mutually destructive?" 

"I do." 

" And you believe that fire and water, and so on, are parts of 
matter?" 

" Quite so." 

" Do you not also believe that water is subversive of fire, 
and light of darkness, and so of all similar things?" 

"Yes." 

"Well, then, if the parts [of a whole] are not mutually 
destructive, and yet the parts of matter are mutually destruc 
tive, they cannot be parts of one matter. And, if they are 
not parts of one another, they cannot be composed of one 

L 



1G2 FRAGMENTS. 

and the same matter ; nay, they cannot be matter at all, since 
nothing in existence is destructive of itself, as we learn from 
the doctrine of opposites : for nothing is opposed to itself an 
opposite being by nature opposed to something else. White, 
for example, is not opposed to itself, but is said to be the 
opposite of black ; and, similarly, light is shown not to be 
opposed to itself, but is considered an opposite in relation to 
darkness; and so of a very great number of things besides. 
If, then, matter were some one thing, it could not be opposed 
to itself. This, then, being the nature of opposites, it is proved 
that matter has no existence." 



POLYCEATES, BISHOP OF EPHESUS. 

FROM HIS EPISTLE TO VICTOR AND THE ROMAN CHURCH CON 
CERNING THE DAY OF KEEPING THE PASSOVEK. 

[In Eusebius, Hist. EccL v. 24.] 

As for us, then, we scrupulously observe the exact day, 1 
neither adding nor taking away. For in Asia great luminaries 2 
have gone to their rest, who shall rise again in the day of the 
coming of the Lord, when He cometh with glory from heaven 
and shall raise again all the saints. [I speak of] Philip, one of 
the twelve apostles, who is laid to rest at Hierapolis ; and his 
two daughters, who arrived at old age unmarried ; 3 his other 
daughter also, who passed her life 4 under the influence of the 
Holy Spirit, and reposes at Ephesus ; John, moreover, who 
reclined on the Lord s bosom, and who became a priest wearing 
the mitre, 5 and a witness and a teacher he rests at Ephesus. 
Then there is Polycarp, both bishop and martyr at Smyrna ; 
and Thraseas from Eumenia, both bishop and martyr, who 
rests at Smyrna. Why should I speak of Sagaris, bishop and 
martyr, who rests at Laodicea ? of the blessed Papirius, more 
over ? and of Melito the eunuch, who performed all his actions 
under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and lies at Sardis, 

1 Appu^tovpyyirojt dlyo/asv TVJV qftspcw. 2 

3 AJ/O OwytZTipes a,i>T(iv ytynpotxv ioii vrxpdivoi. 4 

5 



POL YCRA TESTHEOPHIL US. 163 

awaiting the visitation 1 from heaven, when he shall rise again 
from the dead ? These all kept the passover on the fourteenth 
day [of the month], in accordance with the Gospel, without 
ever deviating from it, but keeping to the rule of faith. 

Moreover I also, Polycrates, who am the least of you all, in 
accordance with the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I 
have succeeded seven of my relatives were bishops, and I am 
the eighth, and my relatives always observed the day when 
the people put away 2 the leaven I myself, brethren, I say, 
who am sixty-five years old in the Lord, and have fallen in 
with the brethren in all parts of the world, and have read 
through all Holy Scripture, am not frightened at the things 
which are said to terrify us. For those who are greater than 
I have said, " We ought to obey God rather than men." 3 . . . 

I might also have made mention of the bishops associated 
with me, whom it was your own desire to have called together 
by me, and I called them together : whose names, if I were to 
write them down, would amount to a great number. These 
[bishops], on coming to see me, unworthy as I am, 4 signified 
their united approval of the letter, knowing that I wore [these] 
grey hairs not in vain, but have always regulated my conduct 
in [obedience] to the Lord Jesus. 



THEOPHILUS, BISHOP OF C^ESAKEA IN PALESTINE. 

FROM HIS EPISTLE ON THE QUESTION OF THE PASSOVER, 
WRITTEN IN THE NAME OF THE SYNOD OF CLESAREA. 

[In Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. v. 25.] 

Endeavour also to send abroad copies of our epistle among 
all the churches, so that those who easily deceive their own souls 
may not be able to lay the blame on us. We would have you 
know, too, that in Alexandria also they observe [the festival] 
on the same day as ourselves. For the [Paschal] letters are 
sent from us to them, and from them to us : so that we observe 
the holy day in unison and together. 

1 EKiaxoirtiii. 2 "Hpws. Some read 

3 Acts v. 29. 4 To* tutw. 



164 FRAGMENTS. 

SEKAPION, BISHOP OF ANTIOCH. 
I. 

FROM THE EPISTLE TO CARIOUS AND PONTICUS. 

[In Eusebius, Hist. Ecd. v. 19.] 

That ye may see also that the proceedings of this lying con 
federacy, 1 to which is given the name of New Prophecy, is 
abominated amon the whole brotherhood throughout the 

O o 

world, I have sent you letters of the most blessed Claudius 
Apollinarius, who was made bishop of Hierapolis in Asia. 

II. 

FROM THE BOOK CONCERNING THE GOSPEL OF PETER. 
[In Eusebius, Hist. Ecd. v. 12.] 

For we, brethren, receive both Peter and the rest of the 
apostles as Christ [Himself]. But thpse writings which are 
falsely inscribed with their name, 2 we as experienced persons 
reject, knowing that no such writings have been handed down to 
us. 3 When, indeed, I came to see you, I supposed that all were 
in accord with the orthodox faith ; and, although I had not 
read through the Gospel inscribed with the name of Peter 
which was brought forward by them, I said : If this is the only 
thing which threatens 4 to produce ill-feeling among you, let 
it be read. But, now that I have learnt from what has been 
told me that their mind was secretly cherishing some heresy, 5 
I will make all haste to come to you again. Expect me there 
fore, brethren, shortly. Moreover, brethren, we, having dis 
covered to what kind of heresy Marcion adhered, and seen how 
he contradicted himself, not understanding of what he was 
speaking, as you will gather from what has been written to 
you 6 for, having borrowed this said Gospel from those who 



2 The reading of Migne, ovopctrt, is adopted instead of 
s Tot rota.i>Toe. ov tfapshdtfioptev. 

Atpiffst rtvt o vov$ etvruv iyzfyuhtviv. 
6 The construction is not again resumed. 



APOLLONIUS. 165 

were familiar with it from constant perusal, namely from the 
Successors of those who were his leaders [in the heresy], whom 
we call Docetse (for most of the opinions held by him are 
derived from their teaching), we were able to read it through ; 
and while we found most of its contents >to agree with the 
orthodox account of the Saviour, we found some things incon 
sistent with that, and these we have set down below for your 
inspection. 



APOLLONIUS. 

[In Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. v. 18.] 

I. 

But who is this new teacher? His works and teaching 
inform [us]. This is he who taught the dissolution of marriage; 
who inculcated fasting ; who called Peruga and Tymius, small 
towns of Phrygia, Jerusalem, because he wished to collect 
thither people from all parts ; who set up exactors of money ; 
who craftily contrives the taking of gifts under the name of 
voluntary offerings ; who grants stipends to those who publish 
abroad his doctrine, that by means of gluttony the teaching of 
the doctrine may prevail. 

II. 

We declare to you, then, that these first prophetesses, as 
soon as they were filled with the spirit, left their husbands. 
Of what falsehood, then, were they guilty in calling Prisca a 
maiden ! Do you not think that all Scripture forbids a 
prophet to receive gifts and money? When, therefore, I see 
that the prophetess has received gold and silver and expensive 
articles of dress, how can I avoid treating her with disapproval? 

III. 

Moreover, Themiso also, who was clothed in a garb of 
plausible 1 covetousness, who declined to bear the sign of 
confessorship, but by a large sum of money put away from 
him the chains [of martyrdom], although after such conduct 
it was his duty to conduct himself with humility, yet had the 



166 FRAGMENTS. 

hardihood to boast that he was a martyr, and, in imitation of 
the apostle, to compose a general epistle, in which he attempted 
to instruct in the elements of the faith l those who had believed 
to better purpose than he, and defended the doctrines of the 
new-fangled teaching, 2 and moreover uttered blasphemy against 
the Lord and the apostles and the holy church. 

IV. 

But, not to dwell further on these matters, let the pro 
phetess tell us concerning Alexander, who calls himself a 
martyr, with whom she joins in banqueting ; who himself also 
is worshipped by many ; 3 whose robberies and other deeds of 
daring, for which he has been punished, it is not necessary for 
us to speak of, since the treasury 4 has him in keeping. Which 
of them, then, condones the sins of the other? The prophet 
the robberies of the martyr, or the martyr the covetousness of 
the prophet ? For whereas the Lord has said, " Provide not 
gold, nor silver, nor two coats [a-piece]," 5 these men have, on 
the flat contrary, transgressed the command by the acquisition 
of these forbidden things. For we shall show that those who 
are called among them prophets and martyrs obtain money not 
only from the rich, but also from the poor, from orphans and 
widows. And if they are confident [that they are right] in so 
doing, let them stand [forward] and discuss [the point], in 
order that, if they be refuted, they may cease for the future 
so to transgress. For the fruits of the prophet must needs be 
brought to the test : for u from its fruit is the tree known." 6 
But that those who desire it may become acquainted with what 
relates to Alexander, he was condemned by JEmilius Fron- 
tinus, proconsul at Ephesus, not on account of the name [of 
Christ], but for the daring robberies he committed when he 
was already a transgressor. 7 Afterwards, when he had spoken 
falsely of the name of the Lord, he was released, having 

1 x,KTYi%s"it/. 2 avvotyaiii^wQett rol; r^g xotivotpavietg "hoyoig. 

3 Or, "whom many of them (the Montanists reading avrau for avrcp) 
worship." 

4 oTFtaQ&oftos, a chamber at the back of the temple of Minerva, in which 
public money was kept. 

5 Matt. x. 9. 6 Matt. xii. 33. 
7 "xa.pa.&uTYi;, here meaning an apostate. 



DIONYSIUS. 167 

deceived the faithful there ; * and [even the brethren of] his 
own district, 2 from which he came, did not receive him, because 
he was a robber. Thus, those who wish to learn what he is, 
have the public treasury of Asia to go to. And yet the prophet, 
although he spent many years with him, knows [forsooth] 
nothing about him! By convicting him, we by his means 
clearly convict of misrepresentation 3 the prophet likewise. 
We are able to prove the like in the case of many [others] 
besides. And if they are confident [of their innocence], let 
them abide the test. 

V. 

If they deny that their prophets have taken gifts, let them 
confess thus much, that if they be convicted of having taken 
them, they are not prophets ; and we will adduce ten thousand 
proofs [that they have]. It is proper, too, that all the fruits of 
a prophet should be examined. Tell me : does a prophet dye 
[his hair] ? Does a prophet use stibium [on his eyes] ? Is a 
prophet fond of dress ? Does a prophet play at gaming-tables 
and dice? Does a prophet lend money on interest? 4 Let 
them confess whether these things are allowable or not. For 
my part, I will prove that these practices have occurred among 
them. 



FKAGMENTS FROM A LETTER OF DIONYSIUS, 
BISHOP OF CORINTH, TO THE ROMAN CHURCH. 

I. 

For this has been your custom from the beginning, to do 
good to all the brethren in various ways, and to send resources 
to many churches which are in every city, thus refreshing the 
poverty of the needy, and granting subsidies to the brethren 
who are in the mines. Through the resources which ye have 
sent from the beginning, ye Romans, keep up the custom of 

1 This is explained by Kufinus to mean: "When certain brethren who 
had influence with the judge interceded for him, he pretended that he was 
suffering for the name of Christ, and by this means he was released." 

2 <7TCtpOlKlCt. 

3 vTroaTKotv, from vQirrvifAi. probably in the sense of substituting one 
thing for another. 

xotl xvfiot;. 



168 FRAGMENTS. 

the Komans handed down by the fathers, which your blessed 
Bishop Soter has not only preserved, but added to, sending a 
splendid gift to the saints, and exhorting with blessed words 
those brethren who go up to Rome, as an affectionate father 
his children. 

II. 

We passed this holy Lord s day, in which we read your 
letter, from the constant reading of which we shall be able to 
draw admonition, even as from the reading of the former one 
you sent us written through Clement. 

III. 

Therefore you also have by such admonition joined in close 
union (the churches) that were planted by Peter and Paul, that 
of the Romans and that of the Corinthians : for both of them 
went 1 to our Corinth, and taught us in the same way as they 
taught you when they went to Italy ; and having taught you, 
they suffered martyrdom at the same time. 2 

IV. 

For I wrote letters when the brethren requested me to write. 
And these letters the apostles of the devil have filled with tares, 
taking away some things and adding others, for whom a woe 
is in store. It is not wonderful, then, if some have attempted 
to adulterate the Lord s writings, when they have formed 
designs against those which are not such, [i.e. of such import 
ance or of such a character]. 



THE LETTER OF THE CHURCHES OF VIENNA 
AND LUGDUNUM TO THE CHURCHES OF 
ASIA AND PHRYGIA. 3 

It began thus : " The servants of Christ who sojourn in 
Vienna and Luojdunum of Gaul to the brethren throughout 

O O 

Asia and Phrygia, who have the same faith and hope of 
redemption as ourselves, peace, grace, and glory from God 
the Father, and from Christ Jesus our Lord." 

After some further preliminary remarks the letter proceeds : 

1 MSS. " planted." 2 The text is evidently very corrupt. 

3 This letter has come down to us in fragments quoted by Eusebius. We 
have used the translation of Lord Hailes as the basis of ours. 



A CHURCH LETTER. 169 

" The greatness of the tribulation in this region, and the 
exceeding anger of the heathen [nations] against the saints, 
and the sufferings which the blessed Witnesses endured, 1 neither 
are we competent to describe accurately, nor indeed is it pos 
sible to detail them in writing. For with all his strength did 
the adversary assail us, even then giving a foretaste of his ac 
tivity among us which is to be without restraint ; and he had 
recourse to every means, accustoming his own subjects and 
exercising them beforehand against the servants of God, so 
that not only were we excluded from houses, 2 baths, and the 
forum, but a universal prohibition was laid against any one 
of us appearing in any place whatsoever. But the grace of 
God acted as our general against him. It rescued the weak ; 
it arrayed against him men like firm pillars, who could through 
patience bear up against the whole force of the assaults of the 
wicked one. These came to close quarters with him, enduring 
every form of reproach and torture; and, making light of 
grievous trials, they hastened on to Christ, showing in reality 
that the i sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be 
compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us. 3 And 
first they nobly endured the evils which were heaped on them 
by the populace, namely, hootings and blows, draggings, 
plunderings, stonings, and confinements, 4 and everything that 
an infuriated mob is wont to perpetrate against those whom 
they deem bitter enemies. And at length, being brought to 
the forum by the tribune of the soldiers, and the magistrates 
that had charge of the city, they were examined in presence of 
the whole multitude ; and having confessed, they were shut up 
in prison until the arrival of the governor. 

" After this, when they were brought before the governor, 
and when he displayed a spirit of savage hostility to us, Vettius 
Epagathus, one of the brethren, interposed. For he was a man 
who had contained the full measure of love towards God and 

1 We have translated pdpTvps; " witnesses " and ftotprvpia " testimony " 
throughout. 

2 Houses of friends and relatives. Olshausen takes them to be public 
buildings. 

3 Kom. viii. 18. 

, 4 By " confinements " in this passage evidently is meant that the populace 
prevented them from resorting to public places, and thus shut them up in 
their own houses. 



170 FRAGMENTS. 

his neighbours. His mode of life had been so strict, that 
though he was a young man, he deserved to be described in the 
words used in regard to the elderly Zacharias : He had walked 
therefore in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord 
blameless. 1 He was also eager to serve his neighbour in any 
way, he was very zealous for God, and he was fervent in spirit. 
Such being the character of the man, he could not bear that 
judgment should be thus unreasonably passed against us, but 
was moved with indignation, and requested that he himself 
should be heard in defence of his brethren, undertaking to prove 
that there is nothing ungodly or impious amongst us. On this, 
those who were round the judgment-seat cried out against him, 
for he was a man of distinction ; and the governor, not for a 
moment listening to the just request thus made to him, merely 
asked him if he himself were a Christian. And on his con 
fessing in the clearest voice that he was, he also was taken up 
into the number of the Witnesses, receiving the appellation of 
the Advocate of the Christians, 2 and having himself the Advo 
cate, the Spirit, 3 more abundantly than Zacharias ; which he 
showed in the fulness 4 of his love, in that he had of his own 
good-will offered to lay down his own life in defence of the 
brethren. For he was and is a genuine disciple of Christ, 
1 following the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. 5 

" After this the rest began to be distinguished, 6 for the 
proto-martyrs were decided and ready, and accomplished the 
confession of their testimony with all alacrity. But there ap 
peared also those who were unprepared and unpractised, and 
who were still feeble, and unable to bear the tension of a great 
contest. Of these about ten in number proved abortions ; 
causing great grief and immeasurable sorrow amongst us, and 
damping the ardour of the rest who had not yet been appre 
hended. For these, although they suffered every kind of 
cruelty, remained nevertheless in the company of the Witnesses, 

1 Luke i. 6. 2 From the heathen judge. 3 Luke i. 67. 

4 The writer refers to St. John s Gospel (xv. 13) : " Greater love hath no 
man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." 

6 Kev. xiv. 4. 

c This expression seems to refer to what took place in athletic combats. 
The athletes were tested before fighting, and those in every way qualified 
were permitted to fight, while the others were rejected. This testing, 
Valesius supposes, was called 



A CHURCH LETTER. -Ill 

and did not forsake them. But then the whole of us were 
greatly alarmed on account of our uncertainty as to confession, 
not because we feared the tortures inflicted, but because we 
looked to the end, and dreaded lest any one should fall away. 
Those who were worthy, however, were daily apprehended, 
filling up the number of the others : so that out of the two 
churches all the excellent, and those to whom the churches 
owed most of all their establishment and prosperity, were col 
lected together in prison. Some heathen household slaves 
belonging to our people were also apprehended, since the 
governor had given orders publicly that all of us should be sought 
out. These, through the instigation of Satan, and through 
fear of the tortures which they saw the saints enduring, urged 
on also by the soldiers, falsely accused us of Thyestean ban 
quets and GEdipodean connections, and other crimes which it is 
lawful for us neither to mention nor think of ; and, indeed, we 
shrink from believing that any such crimes have ever taken 
place among men. When the rumour of these accusations was 
spread abroad, all raged against us like wild beasts ; so that if 
any formerly were temperate in their conduct to us on account 
of relationship, they then became exceedingly indignant and 
exasperated against us. And thus was fulfilled that which 
was spoken by our Lord : i The time shall come when every one 
who slayeth you shall think that he offereth service to God. * 

" Then at last the holy Witnesses suffered tortures beyond 
all description, Satan striving eagerly that some of the evil 
reports might be acknowledged by them. 2 But in an exceeding 
degree did the whole wrath of mob, general, and soldiers fall 
on Sanctus, a deacon from Vienna, and on Maturus, a newly- 
enlightened but noble combatant, and on Attalus, a native of 
Pergamus, who had always been the pillar 3 and foundation of 
the church there, and on Blandina, through whom Christ 
showed that the things that to men appear mean and deformed 

1 John xvi. 2. 

2 The words here admit of two meanings : that something blasphemous 
might be uttered by them such as speaking against Christ and swearing 
by Ceesar ; or that some accusation against the Christians might be uttered 
by them confirming, for instance, the reports of infanticide and incest 
prevalent against the Christians. The latter in this passage seems unques 
tionably to be the meaning. 

3 1 Tim. iii. 15. 



172 FRAGMENTS. 

and contemptible, are with God deemed worthy of great glory, 
on account of love to Him, a love which is not a mere boast 
ful appearance, but shows itself in the power which it exercises 
over the life. For while we were all afraid, and especially her 
mistress in the flesh, who was herself one of the combatants 
among the Witnesses, that she would not be able to make a 
bold confession on account of the weakness of her body, 
JBlandina was filled with such power, that those who tortured 
her one after the other in every way from morning till evening 
were wearied and tired, confessing that they had been baffled, 
for they had no other torture they could apply to her ; and they 
were astonished that she remained in life, when her whole body 
was torn and opened up, and they gave their testimony l that 
one only of the modes of torture employed was sufficient to 
have deprived her of life, not to speak of so many excruciating 
inflictions. But the blessed woman, like a noble athlete, re 
covered her strength in the midst of the confession ; and her 
declaration, < I am a Christian, and there is no evil done 
amongst us, brought her refreshment, and rest, and insensi 
bility to all the sufferings inflicted on her. 

" Sanctus also nobly endured all the excessive and super 
human 2 tortures which man could possibly devise against him ; 
for the wicked hoped, on account of the continuance and great 
ness of the tortures, to hear him confess some of the unlawful 
practices. But he opposed them with such firmness that he 
did not tell them even his own name, nor that of his nation or 
city, nor if he were slave or free ; but in answer to all these 
questions, he said in Latin, I am a Christian. This was the 
confession he made repeatedly, instead of giving his name, his 
city, his race, and indeed in reply to every question that was 
put to him ; and other language the heathens heard not from 
him. Hence arose in the minds of the governor and the tor 
turers a determined resolution to subdue him ; so that, when 

1 Heinichen construes differently. He makes the " torturers astonished 
that Blandina gave her testimony that one kind of torture was sufficient 
to deprive her of life." Perhaps the right construction is to make on mean 
" because "or " for : " " They were astonished at Blandina bearing her 
testimony, for one kind of torture was sufficient to have killed her." 

2 The words VTrtpfiffihyttivas x.l vTrsp nouna. elvdouTrov naturally go with 
vKouiuav, and therefore intimate that Sanctus endurance was greater than 
human ; but we doubt if this is intended by the writer. 



A CHURCH LETTER. 173 

every other means failed, they at last fixed red-hot plates of brass 
to the most delicate parts of his body. And these indeed were 
burned, but he himself remained inflexible and unyielding, 
firm in his confession, being bedewed and strengthened by the 
heavenly fountain of the water of life which issues from the 
belly of Christ. 1 But his body bore witness to what had hap 
pened ; for it was all wounds and weals, shrunk and torn up, 
and had lost externally the human shape. In him Christ suf 
fering wrought great wonders, destroying the adversary, and 
showing for an example to the rest that there is nothing fearful 
where there is the Father s love, and nothing painful where 
there is Christ s glory. For the wicked after some days again 
tortured the Witness, thinking that, since his body was swollen 
and inflamed, if they were to apply the same tortures they 
would gain the victory over him, especially since the parts of 
his body could not bear to be touched by the hand, or that he 
would die in consequence of the tortures, and thus inspire the 
rest with fear. Yet not only did no such occurrence take 
place in regard to him, but even, contrary to every expectation 
of man, his body unbent itself and became erect in the midst of 
the subsequent tortures, and resumed its former appearance 
and the use of its limbs, so that the second torture turned out 
through the grace of Christ a cure, not an affliction. 

" Amono 1 those who had denied was a woman of the name 

O 

of Biblias. The devil, thinking that he had already swallowed 
her, and wishing to damn her still more by making her accuse 
falsely, brought her forth to punishment, and employed force 
to constrain her, already feeble and spiritless, to utter accusa 
tions of atheism against us. But she, in the midst of the 
tortures, came again to a sound state of mind, and awoke as it 
were out of a deep sleep ; for the temporary suffering reminded 
her of the eternal punishment in Gehenna, and she contra 
dicted the accusers of Christians, saying, 4 How can children 
be eaten by those who do not think it lawful to partake of the 
blood of even brute beasts ? And after this she confessed 
herself a Christian, and was added to the number of Wit 
nesses. 

" But when the tyrannical tortures were rendered by Christ 
1 John vii. 38 : "He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, 
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." 



174 FRAGMENTS. 

of no avail through the patience of the blessed, the devil de 
vised other contrivances confinement in the darkest and most 
noisome cells of the prison, the stretching of the feet on the 
stocks, 1 even up to the fifth hole, and the other indignities 
which attendants stirred up by wrath and full of the devil are 
wont to inflict on the imprisoned. The consequence was, that 
very many were suffocated in prison, as many at least as the 
Lord, showing His glory, wished to depart in this way. For 
there were others who were tortured so bitterly, that it seemed 
impossible for them to survive even though they were to 
obtain every kind of attention ; and yet they remained alive 
in prison, destitute indeed of care from man, but strengthened 
by the Lord, and invigorated both in body and soul, and they 
animated and consoled the rest. But the new converts who 
had been recently apprehended, and whose bodies had not pre 
viously been tortured, could not endure the confinement, but 
died in the prison. 

" Now the blessed Pothinus, who had been entrusted with 
the service of the bishopric in Lugdunum, was also dragged 
before the judgment-seat. He was now upwards of ninety 
years of age, and exceedingly weak in body. Though he 
breathed with difficulty on account of the feebleness of the 
body, yet he was strengthened by the eagerness of his spirit, on 
account of his earnest desire to bear his testimony. His body, 
indeed, was already dissolved through old age and disease, yet 
the life was preserved in him, that Christ might triumph through 
him. When he was brought by the soldiers to the judgment- 
seat, under a convoy of the magistrates of the city, and amid 
exclamations of every kind from the whole population, as if 
he himself were the Christ, he gave the good testimony. 
Being asked by the governor who was the God of the Christians, 
he said, * If thou art worthy, thou shalt know. Thereupon 
he was unmercifully dragged about, and endured many blows ; 
for those who were near maltreated him in every way with 
their hands and feet, showing no respect for his age, while 
those at a distance hurled against him each one whatever came 

1 The holes were placed in a line, so that the further the hole in which 
one leg was put from the hole in which the other leg was put, the more 
nearly would the two legs form a straight line, and the greater would be 
the pain. 



A CHURCH LETTER. 175 

to hand, all of them believing that they would sin greatly and 
act impiously if they in any respect fell short in their insulting 
treatment of him. For they thought that in this way they 
would avenge their gods. And Pothinus, breathing with 
difficulty, was cast into prison, and two days after he expired. 
. " Upon this a grand dispensation l of God s providence took 
place, and the immeasurable mercy of Jesus was made mani 
fest, such an occurrence as but rarely happens among the 
brotherhood, yet one that does not fall short of the art of 
Christ. For those who in the first apprehension had denied, 
were imprisoned along with the others, and shared their hard 
ships. Their denial, in fact, turned out at this time to be of 
no advantage to them. For while those who confessed what 
they really were, were imprisoned simply as Christians, no 
other accusation being brought against them, those who denied 
were detained as murderers and profligates. They, moreover, 
were doubly punished. For the confessors were lightened by 
the joy of their testimony and their hope in the promises, and 
by their love to Christ, and by the Father s Spirit. But the 
deniers were tormented greatly by their own consciences, so 
that when they were led forth their countenances could be 
distinguished among all the rest. For the confessors went 
forth joyous, with a mingling of glory and abundant grace in 
their looks, so that their chains lay like becoming ornaments 
around them, as around a bride adorned with golden fringes 
wrought with divers colours. 2 And they breathed at the same 
time the fragrance of Christ, 3 so that some even thought 
that they were anointed with this world s perfume. But the 
deniers were downcast, humbled, sad-looking, and weighed 
down with every kind of disgrace. They were, moreover, re 
proached even by the heathens with being base and cowardly, 
and charged with the crime of murder ; they had lost the alto 
gether honourable, glorious, and life-giving appellation. 4 When 
the rest saw this, they were strengthened, and those who were 

1 The dispensation is, that those who denied were not set free, but con 
fined with the others ; and that this harsh treatment and sad state of mind 
confirmed the resolution of those not yet apprehended to confess Christ. 
Various other explanations have been given, but this seems the most 
reasonable. 

2 Ps. xlv. 13. 8 2 Cor. ii. 15. 4 Of Christian. 



176 FRAGMENTS. 

apprehended confessed unhesitatingly, not allowing the reason 
ing of the devil to have even a place in their thoughts." 

Eusebius omits something, saying that after a little the letter 
proceeded as follows : 

" After these things, then, their testimonies took every shape 
through the different ways in which they departed. 1 For, 
plaiting a crown from different colours and flowers of every 
Idnd, they presented it to the Father. It was right therefore 
that the noble athletes, after having endured divers contests 
and gained grand victories, should receive the great crown of 
incorruption. 

" Maturus, therefore, and Sanctus, and Blandina, and 
Attains were publicly 2 exposed to the wild beasts that com 
mon spectacle of heathen barbarity ; for a day was expressly 
assigned to fights with wild beasts on account of our people. 
And Maturus and Sanctus again endured every form of torture 
in the amphitheatre, as if they had had no suffering at all before. 
Or rather, like athletes who had overthrown their adversary 
several times, 3 and were now contending for the crown itself, 
again they endured the lashes 4 which were usual there ; and 
they were dragged about by the wild beasts, and suffered 
every indignity which the maddened populace demanded in 
cries and exhortations proceeding from various parts of the 
amphitheatre. And last of all they were placed in the iron 
chair, on which their bodies were roasted, and they them 
selves were filled with the fumes of their own flesh. But the 
heathens did not stop even here, but became still more frantic 
in their desire to overcome the endurance of the Christians. 

1 "We have adopted here an emendation of Routh s. The literal version 
of the common text is: " The testimonies of their departure were divided 
into every form." 

2 The Greek is d; TO ^Yipovioy, was led " to the public [building] " to the 
wild beasts. The public [building] is taken to be the amphitheatre. 

3 The words " several times" are represented in Greek by lux. Kteiovuv 
xhqpuv, lit. "through several lots." "When there were several athletes to 
contend, the pairs were determined by lot. After the first contest the 
victors were again formed into pairs by lot, until finally there should be 
but one pair left. See the process at the Olympic games described in 
Lucian Hennotimus, c. xl. p. 782. 

4 The bestiarii, before fighting with wild beasts, had to run the gauntlet. 



A CHURCH LETTER. 177 

But not even thus did they hear anything else from Sanctus 
than the utterance of the confession which he had been accus 
tomed to make from the beginning. These, then, after life had 
lasted a long time throughout the great contest, were at last 
sacrificed, 1 after they alone had formed a spectacle to the world, 
throughout that day, instead of all the diversity which usually 
takes place in gladiatorial shows. 

"Blandina 2 was hung up fastened to a stake, and exposed, 
as food to the wild beasts that were let loose against her ; and 
through her presenting the spectacle of one suspended on 
something like a cross, and through her earnest prayers, she 
inspired the combatants with great eagerness : for in the combat 
they saw, by means of their sister, with their bodily eyes, Him 
who was crucified for them, that He might persuade those who 
trust in Him that every one that has suffered for the glory of 
Christ has eternal communion with the living God. When 
none of the wild beasts at that time touched her, she was taken 
down from the stake and conveyed back to prison. She was 
thus reserved for another contest, in order that, gaining the 
victory in many -preparative conflicts, she might make the con 
demnation of the Crooked Serpent 3 unquestionable, and that 
she might encourage the brethren. For though she was an 
insignificant, weak, and despised woman, yet she was clothed 
with the great and invincible athlete Christ. On many occa 
sions she had overpowered the adversary, and in the course of 
the contest had woven for herself the crown of incorruption. 

" Attains also was vehemently demanded by the mob, for he 
was a man of mark. He entered the lists a ready combatant 
on account of his good conscience, since he had been truly 
practised in the Christian discipline, and had always been a 
Witness of the truth among us. He was led round the amphi 
theatre, a tablet going before him, on which was written in 
Latin, This is Attalus the Christian ; and the people swelled 

1 Rufinus translates jugulati sunt. Probably, "killed with the sword." 
The term may have been a technical one, being applied to the gladiators or 
bestiarii, whose death may have been looked on as a sacrifice to a god or a 
dead hero. 

2 Blandina was a slave : hence the mode of punishment. On this matter 
see Lipsius, De Cruce. 

3 Lord Hailes remarks that this alludes to Isa. xxvii. 1. 

M 



178 FRAGMENTS. 

with indignation against him. But the governor, learning that 
he was a Roman, ordered him to be taken back to prison and 
kept with the rest who were there, with regard to whom he had 
written to the Cassar, and was now awaiting his determination. 

" The intervening time did not prove barren or unfruitful 
to the Witnesses, but through their patient endurance the 
immeasurable love of Christ was made manifest. For through 
the living the dead were made alive ; and the Witnesses con 
ferred favours on those who were not Witnesses, and the Virgin 
Mother had much joy in receiving back alive those whom she 
had given up as dead abortions. For through the Witnesses 
the greater number of those who had denied returned, as it 
were, into their mother s womb, and were conceived again and 
re-quickened; and they learned to confess. And being now 
restored to life, and having their spirits braced, they went up 
to the judgment-seat to be again questioned by the governor, 
while that God who wishes not the death of the sinner, 1 but 
mercifully calls to repentance, put sweetness into their souls. 
This new examination took place because the Caesar had given 
orders that the Witnesses should be punished, but that if any 
denied they should be set free. And as now was commencing 
here the fair, which is attended by vast numbers of men 
assembling from all nations, he brought the blessed up to the 
judgment-seat, exhibiting them as a theatrical show and spec 
tacle to the mobs. Wherefore also he again questioned them, 
and whoever appeared to have had the rights of Eoman citizen 
ship he beheaded, and the rest he sent to the wild beasts. 

" Now Christ was greatly glorified in those who formerly 
denied ; for, contrary to every expectation of the heathen, they 
confessed. For these were examined separately, under the 
belief that they were to be set free ; but confessing, they were 
added to the number of the Witnesses. But there were also 
some who remained without ; namely, those who had no trace 
of faith, and no perception of the marriage garment, 2 nor 

1 Ezek. xxxiii. 11. 

2 Heinichen renders " the bride s garment," and explains in the following 
manner. The bride is the church, the garment Christ ; and the sons of 
perdition had no idea what garment the church of Christ should wear, had 
no idea that they should be clothed with Christ, and be filled with His 
Spirit. It is generally taken to be the marriage garment of Matt. xxii. 12. 



A CHURCH LETTER. 170 

notion of the fear of God, but through their conduct caused 
evil reports of our way of life, that is, sons of perdition. But 
all the rest were added to the church. 

" Present at the examination of these was one Alexander, a 
native of Phrygia, a physician by profession. He had lived for 
many years in Gaul, and had become well known to all for his 
love to God and his boldness in proclaiming the truth, for he 
was not without a share of apostolic grace. He stood near the 
judgment-seat, and, urging by signs those who had denied to 
confess, he looked to those who stood round the judgment-seat 
like one in travail. But the mobs, enraged that those who had 
formerly denied should now confess, cried out against Alexander 
as if he were the cause of this change. Then the governor 
summoned him before him, and inquired of him who he was ; 
and when Alexander said that he was a Christian, the governor 
burst into a passion, and condemned him to the wild beasts. 
And on the next day he entered the amphitheatre along with 
Attalus ; for the governor, wishing to gratify the mob, again 
exposed Attalus to the wild beasts. These two, after being 
tortured in the amphitheatre with all the instruments devised 
for that purpose, and having undergone an exceedingly severe 
contest, at last were themselves sacrificed. Alexander uttered 
no groan or murmur of any kind, but conversed in his heart 
with God ; but Attalus, when he was placed on the iron chair, 
and all the parts of his body were burning, and when the fumes 
from his body were borne aloft, said to the multitude in Latin, 
4 Lo ! this which ye do is eating men. But as for us, we 
neither eat men nor practise any other wickedness. And being 
asked what name God has, he answered, c God has not a name 
as men have. 

" After all these, on the last day of the gladiatorial shows, 
Blandina was again brought in along with Ponticus, a boy 
of about fifteen years of age. These two had been taken daily 
to the amphitheatre to see the tortures which the rest endured, 
and force was used to compel them to swear by the idols of 
the heathen ; but on account of their remaining stedfast, and 
setting all their devices at nought, the multitude were furious 
against them, so as neither to pity the tender years of the boy 
nor to respect the sex of the woman. Accordingly they exposed 
them to every terror, and inflicted on them every torture, 



180 FRAGMENTS. 

repeatedly trying to compel them to swear. But they failed 
in effecting this ; for Ponticus, encouraged by his sister, 1 so 
plainly indeed that even the heathens saw that it was she that 
encouraged and confirmed him, after enduring nobly every 
kind of torture, gave up the ghost ; while the blessed Blandina, 
last of all, after having like a noble mother encouraged her 
children, and sent them on before her victorious to the King, 
trod the same path of conflict which her children had trod, 
hastening on to them with joy and exultation at her departure, 
not as one thrown to the wild beasts, but as one invited to a 
marriage supper. And after she had been scourged and ex 
posed to the wild beasts, and roasted in the iron chair, she was 
at last enclosed in a net and cast before a bull. And after 
having been well tossed by the bull, though without having any 
feeling of what was happening to her, through her hope and 
firm hold of what had been entrusted to her and her converse 
with Christ, she also was sacrificed, the heathens themselves 
acknowledging that never among them did woman endure so 
many and such fearful tortures. 

"Yet not even thus was their madness and their savage 
hatred to the saints satiated. For wild and barbarous tribes, 
when excited by the Wild Beast, with difficulty ceased from 
their rage, and their insulting conduct found another and 
peculiar subject in the bodies of the Witnesses. For they felt 
no shame that they had been overcome, for they were not 
possessed of human reason ; but their defeat only the more 
inflamed their rage, and governor and people, like a wild beast, 
showed a like unjust hatred of us, that the Scripture might be 
fulfilled, He that is unjust, let him be unjust still ; and he 
that is righteous, let him be righteous still. 2 For they threw 
to the dogs those who had been suffocated in prison, carefully 
watching them day and night, lest any one should receive burial 
from us. They then laid out the mangled remains left by the 
wild beasts, and the scorched remains left by the fire, and the 
heads of the rest alone; with their trunks, and in like manner 

O f 

1 She may have been his sister by birth, as some have supposed, but the 
term " sister " would have been applied had she been connected by no other 
tie than that of a common faith. 

2 Rev. xxii. 11. Lardner thinks the passage is quoted from Dan. xii. 10, 
Credib. part ii. c. 16. 



A CHURCH LETTER. 181 

for many days watched them lying unburied with a military 
guard. There were some who raged and gnashed their teeth at 
them, seeking to get from them further vengeance. Others 
derided and insulted them, at the same time magnifying their 
own idols, and ascribing to them the punishment inflicted on 
the Christians. There were persons also of a milder disposition, 
who to some extent seemed to sympathize ; yet they also fre 
quently upbraided, saying, c Where now is their God, and what 
good have they got from that religion which they chose in 
preference to their life I Such was the diversity which cha 
racterized the conduct of the heathens. But our state was one 
of deep sorrow that we could not bury the bodies. For night 
aided us not in this matter ; money failed to persuade, and 
entreaty did not shame them into compliance ; but they kept 
up the watch in every way, as if they were to gain some great 
advantage from the bodies of the Christians not obtaining 
burial." 

Something is omitted. The letter then goes on : 

" The bodies of the Witnesses, after having been maltreated 
in every way, and exposed in the open air for six days, were 
burned, reduced to ashes, and swept by the wicked into the river 
Bhone, which flows past, in order that not even a vestige of 
them might be visible on earth. And these things they did, 
as if they had been able to overcome God, and deprive them of 
their second birth, 1 in order, as they said, that they may not 
have hope in a resurrection, trusting to which they introduce 
some strange and new mode of worship, and despise dangers, 
and go readily and with joy to death. Now let us see if they 
will rise again, and if their God can help them, and rescue them 
out of our hands. " 

Eusebius here breaks off his series of continuous extracts, 
but he makes a few more for special purposes. The first is 
the account which the churches gave of the character of the 
Witnesses : 

" Who also were to such an extent zealous followers and 
imitators of Christ, who, being in the shape of God, thought it 
not an object of desire to be treated like God ; 2 that though 

1 Kcthty/sviaia. The term refers here to the new state of affairs at the 
end of the world. 

2 Phil. ii. 6. 



182 FRAGMENTS. 

they were in such glory, and had borne their testimony not 
once, nor twice, but often, and had been again taken back to 
prison after exposure to the wild beasts, and bore about with 
them the marks of the burnings and bruises and wounds all 
over their bodies, yet did they neither proclaim themselves 
Witnesses, nor indeed did they permit us to address them by 
this name ; but if any one of us on any occasion, either by 
letter or in conversation, called them Witnesses, they rebuked 
him sharply. For they willingly gave the title of Witness to 
Christ, ( the faithful and true Witness, l and first-born from 
the dead, and the leader to the divine life. And they reminded 
us of those Witnesses who had already departed, and said : 
4 These indeed are now Witnesses, whom Christ has vouch 
safed to take up to Himself in the very act of confession, thus 
putting His seal upon their testimony through their departure. 
But we are mean and humble confessors. And with tears 
they besought the brethren that earnest prayers might be made 
for their being perfected. They in reality did all that is 
implied in the term c testimony, acting with great boldness 
towards all the heathen ; and their nobleness they made mani 
fest through their patience, and fearlessness, and intrepidity. 
But the title of Witness, as implying some superiority to their 
brethren, 2 they refused, being filled with the fear of God." 

After a little they say : 

"They humbled themselves 3 under the powerful hand by 
which they are now highly exalted. Then they pleaded for 
all, 4 but accused none ; they absolved all, they bound none ; 
and they prayed for those who inflicted the tortures, even as 
Stephen the perfect Witness, ( Lord, lay not this sin to their 
charge. 5 But if he prayed for those who stoned him, how 
much more for the brethren ! " 

1 Rev. i. 5 and iii. 14. 

2 The Greek is nj:/ ^rpog rovs ct%e hq!oi>$ TUV ftetprvpav xpoowyopi av, generally 
translated, " offered to them by their brethren." 

3 1 Pet. v. 6. 

4 The Greek is, notci plv x^s^o-yovvro. Kufimis translated, " Placabant 
omnes, neminem accusabant." Valesius thought that the words ought to be 
translated, " They rendered an account of their faith to all ; " or, " They 
defended themselves before all." Heinichen has justified the translation in 
the text by an appeal to a passage in Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iv. 15. 

6 Acts vii. 60. 



A CHURCH LETTER. 183 

After other things, again they say : 

" For they had this very great conflict with him [the devil] 
on account of their genuine love, in order that the Beast being 
choked, might vomit forth those whom he thought he had 
already swallowed. For they assumed no airs of superiority 
over the fallen, but with those things in which they themselves 
abounded they aided the needy, displaying towards them the 
compassion of a mother. And pouring out many tears for them 
to the Father, they begged life ; l and He gave it to them, and 
they shared it with their neighbours. And departing victorious 
over all to God, having always loved peace, and having recom 
mended peace to us, in peace they went to God, leaving no 
sorrow to their Mother, nor division and dissension to their 
brethren, but joy and peace, and concord and love." 

11 The same writing of the fore-mentioned martyrs," says 
Eusebius, " contains a story worth remembrance. 

" For there was one of them of the name of Alcibiades, who 
lived an exceedingly austere life, confining his diet to bread 
and water, and partaking of nothing else whatsoever. He tried 
to continue this mode of life in prison ; but it was revealed to 
Attalus after the first conflict which he underwent in the 
amphitheatre that Alcibiades was not pursuing the right course 
in refusing to use the creatures of God, and in leaving an 
example which might be a stumbling-block to others. And 
Alcibiades was persuaded, and partook freely of all kinds of 
food, and thanked God. For they were not without the 
oversight of the grace of God, but the Holy Spirit was their 
counsellor." 

1 Ps. xx. 4. 



CLEMENS ALEXANDBINUS 

ON THE 

SALTATION OF THE KICK MAN. 

TRANSLATED BY 

REV. WILLIAM WILSON, M.A. 



185 



WHO IS THE EICH MAN THAT SHALL 
BE SATED? 



I. THOSE who bestow laudatory addresses on the rich appear 
to me to be rightly judged not only flatterers and base, in 
vehemently pretending that things which are disagreeable give 
them pleasure, but also godless and treacherous ; godless, 
because neglecting to praise and glorify God, who is alone 
perfect and good, " of whom are all things, and by whom are 
all things, and for whom are all things " (Rom. xi. 35), they 
invest 1 with divine honours men wallowing in an execrable and 
abominable life, and, what is the principal thing, liable on this 
account to the judgment of God ; and treacherous, because, 
although wealth is of itself sufficient to puff up and corrupt the 
souls of its possessors, and to turn them from the path by which 
salvation is to be attained, they stupefy them still more, by 
inflating the minds of the rich with the pleasures of extravagant 
praises, and by making them utterly despise all things except 
wealth, on account of which they are admired ; bringing, as the 
saying is, fire to fire, pouring pride on pride, and adding con 
ceit to w r ealth, a heavier burden to that which by nature is a 
weight, from which somewhat ought rather to be removed and 
taken away as being a dangerous and deadly disease. For to 
him who exalts and magnifies himself, the change and downfall 
to a low condition succeeds in turn, as the divine word teaches. 
For it appears to me to be far kinder, than basely to flatter the 
rich and praise them for what is bad, to aid them in working out 
their salvation in every possible way ; asking this of God, who 
surely and sweetly bestows such things on His own children ; 
and thus by the grace of the Saviour healing their souls, en- 

1 This clause is defective in the MS., and is translated as supplemented 
by Fell from conjecture. 

187 



188 CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA. 

lightening them and leading them to the attainment of the 
truth ; and whosoever obtains this and distinguishes himself 
in good works shall gain the prize of everlasting life. Now 
prayer that rims its course till the last day of life needs a 
strong and tranquil soul ; and the conduct of life needs a good 
and righteous disposition, reaching out towards all the com 
mandments of the Saviour. 

II. Perhaps the reason of salvation appearing more difficult 
to the rich than to poor men, is not single but manifold. For 
some, merely hearing, and that in an off-hand way, the utter 
ance of the Saviour, a that it is easier for a camel to go through 
the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the king 
dom of heaven" (Matt. xix. 24), despair of themselves as not 
destined to live, surrender all to the world, cling to the present 
life as if it alone was left to them, and so diverge more from 
the way to the life to come, no longer inquiring either whom 
the Lord and Master calls rich, or how that which is impos 
sible to man becomes possible to God. But others rightly and 
adequately comprehend this, but attaching slight importance to 
the works which tend to salvation, do not make the requisite 
preparation for attaining to the objects of their hope. And I 
affirm both of these things of the rich who have learned both 
the Saviour s power and His glorious salvation. With those 
who are ignorant of the truth I have little concern. 

III. Those then \vho are actuated by a love of the truth 
and love of their brethren, and neither are rudely insolent 
towards such rich as are called, nor, on the other hand, cringe 
to them for their own avaricious ends, must first by the word 
relieve them of their groundless despair, and show with the re 
quisite explanation of the oracles of the Lord that the inheri 
tance of the kingdom of heaven is not quite cut off from them 
if they obey the commandments ; then admonish them that they 
entertain a causeless fear, and that the Lord gladly receives 
them, provided they are willing ; and then, in addition, exhibit 
and teach how and by what deeds and dispositions they shall win 
the objects of hope, inasmuch as it is neither out of their reach, 
nor, on the other hand, attained without effort ; but, as is the 
case with athletes to compare things small and perishing with 
things great and immortal let the man who is endowed with 
worldly wealth reckon that this depends on himself. For among 



WHO IS THE PJCII MAN THAT SHALL BE SA VED ? ISO 

those, one man, because he despaired of being able to conquer 
and gain crowns, did not give in his name for the contest; while 
another, whose mind was inspired with this hope, and yet did 
not submit to the appropriate labours, and diet, and exercises, 
remained uncrowned, and was balked in his expectations. So 
also let not the man that has been invested with worldly wealth 
proclaim himself excluded at the outset from the Saviour s lists, 
provided he is a believer and one who contemplates the greatness 
of God s philanthropy ; nor let him, on the other hand, expect 
to grasp the crowns of immortality without struggle and effort, 
continuing untrained, and without contest. But let him go and 
put himself under the Word as his trainer, and Christ the Pre 
sident of the contest ; and for his prescribed food and drink let 
him have the New Testament of the Lord ; and for exercises, 
the commandments ; and for elegance and ornament, the fair 
dispositions, love, faith, hope, knowledge of the truth, gentleness, 
meekness, pity, gravity : so that, when by the last trumpet the 
signal shall be given for the race and departure hence, as from 
the stadium of life, he may with a good conscience present him 
self victorious before the Judge who confers the rewards, con 
fessedly worthy of the Fatherland on high, to which he returns 
with crowns and the acclamations of angels. 

IV. May the Saviour then grant to us that, having begun 
the subject from this point, we may contribute to the brethren 
what is true, and suitable, and saving, first touching the hope 
itself, and, second, touching the access to the hope. He 
indeed grants to those who beg, and teaches those who ask, 
and dissipates ignorance and dispels despair, by introducing 
again the same words about the rich, which become their own 
interpreters and infallible expounders. For there is nothing 
like listening again to the very same statements, which till now 
in the Gospels were distressing you, hearing them as you did 
without examination, and erroneously through puerility : " And 
going forth into the way, one approached and kneeled, saying, 
Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may inherit 
everlasting life ? And Jesus saith, Why callest thou me good ? 
There is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the 
commandments. Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not 
steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father 
and thy mother. And he answering saith to Him, All these 



190 CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA. 

have I observed. And Jesus, looking upon him, loved him, and 
said, One thing thou lackest. If thou wouldest be perfect, sell 
what thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have 
treasure in heaven : and come, follow me. And he was sad at 
that saying, and went away grieved : for he was rich, having 
great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith to 
His disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into 
the kingdom of God ! And the disciples were astonished at His 
words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, 
Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter 
into the kingdom of God! More easily shall a camel enter 
through the eye of a needle than a rich man into the kingdom 
of God. And they were astonished out of measure, and said, 
Who then can be saved? And He, looking upon them, said, 
What is impossible with men is possible with God. For with 
God all things are possible. Peter began to say to Him, Lo, we 
have left all and followed Thee. And Jesus answered and said, 
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall leave what is his own, 
parents, and brethren, and possessions, for my sake and the 
gospel s, shall receive an hundred-fold now in this world, lands, 
and possessions, and house, and brethren, with persecutions; and 
in the world to come is life everlasting. But many that are 
first shall be last, and the last first." 1 

V. These things are written in the Gospel according to 
Mark ; and in all the rest correspondingly ; although perchance 
the expressions vary slightly in each, yet all show identical 
agreement in meaning. 

But well knowing that the Saviour teaches nothing in a 
merely human way, but teaches all things to His own with 
divine and mystic wisdom, we must not listen to His utterances 
carnally ; but with due investigation and intelligence must 
search out and learn the meaning hidden in them. For even 
those things which seem to have been simplified to the disciples 
by the Lord Himself are found to require not less, even more, 
attention than what is expressed enigmatically, from the sur 
passing superabundance of wisdom in them. And whereas 
the things which are thought to have been explained by Him 
to those within those called by Him the children of the king 
dom require still more consideration than the things which 
1 Mark x. 17-31. Clement does not give always Mark s ipsissima verba. 



WHO IS THE EICH MAN THAT SHALL BE SA VED ? 191 

seemed to have been expressed simply, and respecting which 
therefore no questions were asked by those who heard them, 
but which, pertaining to the entire design of salvation, and to 
be contemplated with admirable and supercelestial depth of 
mind, we must not receive superficially with our ears, but with 
application of the mind to the very spirit of the Saviour, and 
the unuttered meaning of the declaration. 

VI. For our Lord and Saviour was asked pleasantly a 
question most appropriate for Him, the Life respecting life, 
the Saviour respecting salvation, the Teacher respecting the 
chief doctrines taught, the Truth respecting the true immor 
tality, the Word respecting the word of the Father, the Perfect 
respecting the perfect rest, the Immortal respecting the sure 
immortality. He was asked respecting those things on account 
of which He descended, which He inculcates, which He teaches, 
which He offers, in order to show the essence of the gospel, 
that it is the gift of eternal life. For He foresaw as God, both 
what He would be asked, and what each one would answer 
Him. For who should do this more than the Prophet of 
prophets, and the Lord of every prophetic spirit? And having 
been called u good," and taking the starting note from this first 
expression, He commences His teaching with this, turning the 
pupil to God, the good, and first and only dispenser of eternal 
life, which the Son, who received it of Him, gives to us. 

VII. Wherefore the greatest and chiefest point of the 
instructions which relate to life must be implanted in the soul 
from the beginning, to know the eternal God, the giver of what 
is eternal, and by knowledge and comprehension to possess God, 
who is first, and highest, and one, and good. For this is the 
immutable and immoveable source and support of life, the 
knowledge of God, who really is, and who bestows the things 
which really are, that is, those which are eternal, from whom 
both being and the continuance 1 of it are derived to other 
beings. For ignorance of Him is death; but the knowledge 
and appropriation of Him, and love and likeness to Him, are 
the only life. 

VIII. He then who would live the true life is enjoined first 
to know Him " whom no one knows, except the Son reveal 
(Him) " (Matt. xi. 17). Next is to be learned the greatness 

1 Instead of pslvui Fell here suggests ^ sluxt, non-being. 



192 CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA. 

of the Saviour after Him, and the newness of grace ; for, ac 
cording to the apostle, u the law was given by Moses, grace 
and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John i. 17) ; and the gifts 
granted through a faithful servant are not equal to those be 
stowed by the true Son. If then the law of Moses had been 
sufficient to confer eternal life, it were to no purpose for the 
Saviour Himself to come and suffer for us, accomplishing the 
course of human life from His birth to His cross ; and to no 
purpose for him who had done all the commandments of the 
law from his youth to fall on his knees and beg from another 
immortality. For he had not only fulfilled the law, but had 
begun to do so from his very earliest youth. For what is there 
great or pre-eminently illustrious in an old age which is unpro 
ductive of faults? But if one in juvenile frolicsomeness and 
the fire of youth shows a mature judgment older than his 
years, this is a champion admirable and distinguished, and 
hoary pre-eminently in mind. 

But, nevertheless, this man being such, is perfectly persuaded 
that nothing is wanting to him as far as respects righteousness, 
but that he is entirely destitute of life. Wherefore he asks it 
from Him who alone is able to give it. And with reference to 
the law, he carries confidence ; but the Son of God he addresses 
in supplication. He is transferred from faith to faith. As 
perilously tossing and occupying a dangerous anchorage in 
the law, he makes for the Saviour to find a haven. 

IX. Jesus, accordingly, does not charge him with not having 
fulfilled all things out of the law, but loves him, and fondly 
welcomes his obedience in what he had learned ; but says that 
he is not perfect as respects eternal life, inasmuch as he had 
not fulfilled what is perfect, and that he is a doer indeed of the 
law, but idle at the true life. Those things, indeed, are good. 
Who denies it? For "the commandment is holy" (Eom. 
vii. 12), as far as a sort of training with fear and preparatory 
discipline goes, leading as it did to the culmination of legisla 
tion and to grace (Gal. iii. 24). But Christ is the fulfilment 
tl of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth ; " 
and not as a slave making slaves, but sons, and brethren, and 
fellow-heirs, who perform the Father s will. 

X. "If thou wilt be perfect" (Matt, xix. 21). Consequently 
he was not yet perfect. For nothing is more perfect than what 



WHO IS THE RICH MAN THAT SHALL BE SA VED ? 193 

is perfect. And divinely the expression " if thou wilt " showed 
the self-determination of the soul holding converse with Him. 
For choice depended on the man as being free ; but the gift on 
God as the Lord. And He gives to those who are willing and 
are exceedingly earnest, and ask, that so their salvation may 
become their own. For God compels not (for compulsion is 
repugnant to God), but supplies to those who seek, and bestows 
on those who ask, and opens to those who knock. If thou wilt, 
then, if thou really wiliest, and art not deceiving thyself, acquire 
what thou lackest. One thing is lacking thee, the one thing 
which abides, the good, that which is now above the law, which 
the law gives not, which the law contains not, which is the pre 
rogative of those who live. He forsooth who had fulfilled all 
the demands of the law from his youth, and had gloried in 
what was magnificent, was not able to complete the whole 1 with 
this one thing which was specially required by the Saviour, so 
as to receive the eternal life which he desired. But he de 
parted displeased, vexed at the commandment of the life, on 
account of which he supplicated. For he did not truly wish 
life, as he averred, but aimed at the mere reputation of the 
good choice. And he was capable of busying himself about 
many things ; but the one thing, the work of life, he was 
powerless, and disinclined, and unable to accomplish. Such 
also was what the Lord said to Martha, who was occupied with 
many things, and distracted and troubled with serving ; while 
she blamed her sister, because, leaving serving, she set herself 
at His feet, devoting her time to learning : " Thou art troubled 
about many things, but Mary hath chosen the good part, which 
shall not be taken away from her" (Luke x. 41). So also He 
bade him leave his busy life, and cleave to One and adhere to 
the grace of Him who offered everlasting life. 

XL What then was it which persuaded him to flight, and 
made him depart from the Master, from the entreaty, the hope, 
the life, previously pursued with ardour? "Sell thy posses 
sions." And what is this ? He does not, as some conceive off 
hand, bid him throw away the substance he possessed, and 
abandon his property ; but bids him banish from his soul his 

1 The reading of the MS. is vpa6^eti^ which is corrupt. We have changed 
it into TrsptQilvsii. Various other emendations have been proposed. Per 
haps it should \>e TTpwffstvou. "to add." 

N 



194 CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA. 

notions about wealth, his excitement and morbid feeling about 
it, the anxieties, which are the thorns of existence, which 
choke the seed of life. For it is no great thing or desirable 
to be destitute of wealth, if without a special object, not 
except on acco unt of life. For thus those who have nothing 
at all, but are destitute, and beggars for their daily bread, the 
poor dispersed on the streets, who know not God and God s 
righteousness, simply on account of their extreme want and 
destitution of subsistence, and lack even of the smallest things, 
were most blessed and most dear to God, and sole possessors of 
everlasting life. 

Nor was the renunciation of wealth and the bestowment of it 
on the poor or needy a new thing ; for many did so before the 
Saviour s advent, some because of the leisure (thereby obtained) 
for learning, and on account of a dead wisdom ; and others for 
empty fame and vain-glory, as the Anaxagorases, the Democriti, 
and the Oateses. 

XII. Why then command as new, as divine, as alone life- 
giving, what did not save those of former days ? And what 
peculiar thing is it that the new creature 1 the Son of God inti 
mates and teaches? It is not the outward act which others 
have done, but something else indicated by it, greater, more 
godlike, more perfect, the stripping off of the passions from the 
soul itself and from the disposition, and the cutting up by the 
roots and casting out of what is alien to the mind. For this is 
the lesson peculiar to the believer, and the instruction worthy of 
the Saviour. For those who formerly despised external things 
relinquished and squandered their property, but the passions 
of the soul, I believe, they intensified. For they indulged in 
arrogance, pretension, and vain-glory, and in contempt of the 
rest of mankind, as if they had done something superhuman. 
How then would the Saviour have enjoined on those destined to 
live for ever what was injurious and hurtful with reference to 
the life which He promised ? For although such is the case, 
one, after ridding himself of the burden of wealth, may none 

1 The application of the words vj xaiv/! XTIO-IS to Christ has been much 
discussed. Segaar has a long note on it, the purport of which he thus 
sums up : q xouvvi x-Tiat; is a creature to whom nothing has ever existed on 
earth equal or like, man but also God, through whom is true light and ever 
lasting life. 



WHO IS THE PJCH MAN THAT SHALL BE SA VED ? 195 

the less have still the lust and desire for money innate and 
living; and may have abandoned the use of it, but being at 
once destitute of and desiring what he spent, may doubly grieve 
both on account of the absence of attendance, and the presence 
of regret. For it is impossible and inconceivable that those in 
want of the necessaries of life should not be harassed in mind, 
and hindered from better things in the endeavour to provide 
them somehow, and from some source. 

XIII. And how much more beneficial the opposite case, for a 
man, through possessing a competency, both not himself to be in 
straits about money, and also to give assistance to those to whom 
it is requisite so to do ! For if no one had anything, what room 
would be left among men for giving ? And how can this dogma 
fail to be found plainly opposed to and conflicting with many 
other excellent teachings of the Lord ? " Make to yourselves 
friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail, 
they may receive you into the everlasting habitations" (Luke 
xvi. 9). " Acquire treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor 
rust destroys, nor thieves break through" (Matt. vi. 19). How 
could one give food to the hungry, and drink to the thirsty, 
clothe the naked, and shelter the houseless, for not doing which 
He threatens with fire and the outer darkness, if each man first 
divested himself of all these things ? Nay, He bids Zaccheus 
and Matthew, the rich tax-gatherers, entertain Him hospitably. 
And He does not bid them part with their property, but, apply 
ing the, just and removing the unjust judgment, He subjoins, 
" To-day salvation has come to this house, forasmuch as he also 
is a son of Abraham" (Luke v. 29, xix. 5). He so praises the 
use of property as to enjoin, along with this addition, the giving 
a share of it, to give drink to the thirsty, bread to the hungry, 
to take the houseless in, and clothe the naked. But if it is not 
possible to supply those needs without substance, and He bids 
people abandon their substance, what else would the Lord be 
doing than exhorting to give and not to give the same things, 
to feed and not to feed, to take in and to shut out, to share 
and not to share ? which were the most irrational of all 
things. 

XIV. Eiches, then, which benefit also our neighbours, are 
not to be thrown away. For they are possessions, inasmuch 
as they are possessed, and goods, inasmuch as they are useful 



19G CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA. 

and provided by God for the use of men ; and they lie to our 
hand, and are put under our power, as material and instruments 
which are for good use to those who know the instrument. If 
you use it skilfully, it is skilful ; if you are deficient in skill, it 
is affected by your want of skill, being itself destitute of blame. 
Such an instrument is wealth. Are you able to make a right 
use of it? It is subservient to righteousness. Does one make a 
wrong use of it? It is, on the other hand, a minister of wrong. 
For its nature is to be subservient, not to rule. That then 
which of itself has neither good nor evil, being blameless, ought 
not to be blamed ; but that which has the power of using it 
well and ill, by reason of its possessing voluntary choice. And 
this is the mind and judgment of man, which has freedom in 
itself and self-determination in the treatment of what is as 
signed to it. So let no man destroy wealth, rather than the 
passions of the soul, which are incompatible with the better 
use of wealth. So that, becoming virtuous and good, he may 
be able to make a good use of these riches. The renunciation, 
then, and selling of all possessions, is to be understood as spoken 
of the passions of the soul. 

XV. I would then say this. Since some things are within 
and some without the soul, and if the soul make a good use of 
them, they also are reputed good, but if a bad, bad; whether does 
He who commands us to alienate our possessions repudiate those 
things, after the removal of which the passions still remain, or 
those rather, on the removal of which wealth even becomes 
beneficial ? If therefore he who casts away worldly wealth can 
still be rich in the passions, even though the material [for 
their gratification] is absent, for the disposition produces its 
own effects, and strangles the reason, and presses it down and 
inflames it with its inbred lusts, it is then of no advantage 
to him to be poor in purse while he is rich in passions. For 
it is not what ought to be cast away that he has cast away, but 
what is indifferent ; and he has deprived himself of what is 
serviceable, but set on fire the innate fuel of evil through want 
of the external means [of gratification]. We must therefore 
renounce those possessions that are injurious, not those that 
are capable of being serviceable, if one knows the right use of 
them. And what is managed with wisdom, and sobriety, and 
piety, is profitable; and what is hurtful must be cast away. 



WHO IS THE RICH MAN THAT SHALL BE SA VED ? 197 

But things external hurt not. So then the Lord introduces 
the use of external things, bidding us put away not the means 
of subsistence, but what uses them badly. And these are the 
infirmities and passions of the soul. 

XVI. The presence of wealth in these is deadly to all, the 
loss of it salutary. Of which, making the soul pure, that is, 
poor and bare, we must hear the Saviour speaking thus, 
" Come, follow me." For to the pure in heart He now 
becomes the way. But into the impure soul the grace of 
God finds no entrance. And that (soul) is unclean which is 
rich in lusts, and is in the throes of many worldly affections. 
For he who holds possessions, and gold, and silver, and houses, 
as the gifts of God; and ministers from them to the God 
who gives them for the salvation of men; and knows that 
he possesses them more for the sake of the brethren than his 
own ; and is superior to the possession of them, not the slave 
of the things he possesses ; and does not carry them about in 
his soul, nor bind and circumscribe his life within them, but 
is ever labouring at some good and divine work, even should 
he be necessarily some time or other deprived of them, is able 
with cheerful mind to bear their removal equally with their 
abundance. This is he who is blessed by the Lord, and 
called poor in spirit, a meet heir of the kingdom of heaven, 
not one who could not live rich. 

XVII. But he who carries his riches in his soul, and 
instead of God s Spirit bears in his heart gold or land, and 
is always acquiring possessions without end, and is perpetually 
on the outlook for more, bending downwards and fettered 
in the toils of the world, being earth and destined to depart to 
ear th, whence can he be able to desire and to mind the king 
dom of heaven, a man who carries not a heart, but land or 
metal, who must perforce be found in the midst of the objects 
he has chosen ? For where the mind of man is, there is also 
his treasure. The Lord acknowledges a twofold treasure, 
the good : " For the good man, out of the good treasure of his 
heart, bringetli forth good;" and the evil: for "the evil man, 
ont of the evil treasure, bringetli forth evil: for out of the 
abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Matt. xii. 34, 
35). As then treasure is not one with Him, as also it is with 
us, that which gives the unexpected great gain in the finding, 



198 CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA. 

but also a second, which is profitless and undesirable, an evil 
acquisition, hurtful ; so also there is a richness in good things, 
and a richness in bad things, since we know that riches and 
treasure are not by nature separated from each other. And 
the one sort of riches is to be possessed and acquired, and 
the other not to be possessed, but to be cast away. 

In the same way spiritual poverty is blessed. Wherefore 
also Matthew added, "Blessed are the poor" (Matt. v. 3). 
How? "In spirit." And again, "Blessed are they that 
hunger and thirst after the righteousness of God" (Matt. v. 
6). Wherefore wretched are the contrary kind of poor, who 
have no part in God, and still less in human property, and 
have not tasted of the righteousness of God. 

XVIII. So that (the expression) rich men that shall with 
difficulty enter into the kingdom, is to be apprehended in 
a scholarly 1 way, not awkwardly, or rustically, or carnally. 
For if the expression is used thus, salvation does not depend 
on external things, whether they be many or few, small or 
great, or illustrious, or obscure, or esteemed or disesteemed ; 
but on the virtue of the soul, on faith, and hope, and love, 
and brotherliness, and knowledge, and meekness, and humility, 
and truth, the reward of which is salvation. For it is not on 
account of comeliness of body that any one shall live, or, on 
the other hand, perish. But he who uses the body given to 
him chastely and according to God, shall live ; and he that 
destroys the temple of God shall be destroyed. An ugly man 
can be profligate, and a good-looking man temperate. Neither 
strength and great size of body makes alive, nor does any 
of the members destroy. But the soul which uses them pro 
vides the cause for each. Bear then, it is said, when struck 
on the face (Matt. v. 39) ; which a man strong and in good 
health can obey. And again, a man who is feeble may trans 
gress from refractoriness of temper. So also a poor and desti 
tute man may be found intoxicated with lusts ; and a man rich 
in worldly goods temperate, poor in indulgences, trustworthy, 
intelligent, pure, chastened. 

If then it is the soul which, first and especially, is that which 
is to live, and if virtue springing up around it saves, and vice 
Fell suggests instead of this reading of the text, 



WHO IS THE RICH MAN THAT SHALL BE SA VED ? 199 

kills ; then it is clearly manifest that by being poor in those 
things, by riches of which one destroys it, it is saved, and by 
being rich in those things, riches of which ruin it, it is killed. 
And let us no longer seek the cause of the issue elsewhere than 
in the state and disposition of the soul in respect of obedience 
to God and purity, and in respect of transgression of the com 
mandments and accumulation of wickedness. 

XIX. He then is truly and rightly rich who is rich in 
virtue, and is capable of making a holy and faithful use of any 
fortune ; while he is spuriously rich who is rich, according to 
the flesh, and turns life into outward possession, which is tran 
sitory and perishing, and now belongs to one, now to another, 
and in the end to nobody at all. Again, in the same way there 
is a genuine poor man, and another counterfeit and falsely so 
called. He that is poor in spirit, and that is the right thing, 
and he that is poor in a worldly sense, which is a different 
thing. To him who is poor in worldly goods, but rich in vices, 
who is not poor in spirit 1 and rich toward God, it is said, 
Abandon the alien possessions that are in thy soul, that, be 
coming pure in heart, thou mayest see God ; which is another 
way of saying, Enter into the kingdom of heaven. And how 
may you abandon them? By selling them. What then? 
Are you to take money for effects, by effecting an exchange 
of riches, by turning your visible substance into money ? Not 
at all. But by introducing, instead of what was formerly in 
herent in your soul, which you desire to save, other riches 
which deify and which minister everlasting life, dispositions in 
accordance with the command of God ; for which there shall 
accrue to you endless reward and honour, and salvation, and 
everlasting immortality. It is thus that thou dost rightly sell 
the possessions, many and superfluous, which shut the heavens 
against thee by exchanging them for those which are able to 
save. Let the former be possessed by the carnal poor, who 
are destitute of the latter. But thou, by receiving instead 
spiritual wealth, shalt have now treasure in the heavens. 

XX. The wealthy and legally correct man, not understand- 
in o- these things figuratively, nor how the same man can be 

O O C vi 

ov nraxog. . . <pwl. Segaar omits ov, and so makes 
.r. h.. the nominative to (pwl. It seems better, with the Latin 
translator, to render as above, which supposes the change of 6 into o;. 



200 CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA. 

both poor and rich, and have wealth and not have it, and use 
the world and not use it, went away sad and downcast, leaving 
the state of life, which he was able merely to desire but not to 
attain, making for himself the difficult impossible. For it 
was difficult for the soul not to be seduced and ruined by 
the luxuries and flowery enchantments that beset remarkable 
wealth ; but it was not impossible, even surrounded with it, for 
one to lay hold of salvation, provided he withdrew himself from 
material wealth, to that which is grasped by the mind and 
taught by God, and learned to use things indifferent rightly 
and properly, and so as to strive after eternal life. And the 
disciples even themselves were at first alarmed and amazed. 
Why were they so on hearing this? Was it that they them 
selves possessed much wealth I Nay, they had long ago left 
their very nets, and hooks, and rowing boats, which were their 
sole possessions. Why then do they say in consternation, 
u Who can be saved?" They had heard well and like disciples 
what was spoken in parable and obscurely by the Lord, and 
perceived the depth of the words. For they were sanguine of 
salvation on the ground of their want of wealth. But when 
they became conscious of not having yet wholly renounced the 
passions (for they were neophytes and recently selected by the 
Saviour), they were excessively astonished, and despaired of 
themselves no less than that rich man who clung so terribly to- 
the wealth which he preferred to eternal life. It was there 
fore a fit subject for all fear on the disciples part ; if both 
he that possesses wealth and he that is teeming with passions 
were the rich, and these alike shall be expelled from the 
heavens. For salvation is the privilege of pure and passion 
less souls. 

XXI. But the Lord replies, " Because what is impossible 
with men is possible with God." This again is full of great 
wisdom. For a man by himself working and toiling at freedom 
from passion achieves nothing. But if he plainly shows himself 
very desirous and earnest aboutthis, he attains it by the addition 
of the power of God. For God conspires with willing souls. 
But if they abandon their eagerness, the spirit which is bestowed 
by God is also restrained. For to save the unwilling is the 
part of one exercising compulsion ; but to save the willing, 
that of one showing grace. Nor does the kingdom of heaven 



WHO IS THE RICH MAN THAT SHALL BE SA VED ? 201 

belong to sleepers and sluggards. " but the violent take it by 
force" (Matt. xi. 12). For this alone is commendable violence, 
to force God, and take life from God by force. And He, 
knowing those who persevere firmly, or rather violently, yields 
and grants. For God delights in being vanquished in such 
things. 

Therefore on hearing those words, the blessed Peter, the 
chosen, the pre-eminent, the first of the disciples, for whom alone 
and Himself the Saviour paid tribute (Matt. xvii. 26), quickly 
seized and comprehended the saying. And what does he say ? 
" Lo, we have left all and followed Thee." Now if by all he 
means his own property, he boasts of leaving four oboli perhaps 
in all, 1 and forgets to show the kingdom of heaven to be their 
recompense. But if, casting away what we were now speaking of, 
the old mental possessions and soul diseases, they follow in the 
Master s footsteps, this now joins them to those who are to be 
enrolled in the heavens. For it is thus that one truly follows 
the Saviour, by aiming at sinlessness and at His perfection, and 
adorning and composing the soul before it as a mirror, and 
arranging everything in all respects similarly. 

XXII. " And Jesus answering said, Verily I say unto you, 
Whosoever shall leave what is his own. parents, and children, and 
wealth, for my sake and the gospel s, shall receive an hundred 
fold" (Mark x. 29, quoted inexactly). But let neither this 
trouble you, nor the still harder saying delivered in another 
place in the words, "Whoso hateth not father, and mother, 
and children, and his own life besides, cannot be my disciple " 
(Luke xiv. 26). For the God of peace, who also exhorts to love 
enemies, does not introduce hatred and dissolution from those 
that are dearest. But if we are to love our enemies, it is in 
accordance with right reason that, ascending from them, we 
should love also those nearest in kindred. Or if we are to hate 
our blood-relations, deduction te